Navigating Transitions + Tough Times

What to do when you’re unhappy AF

September 1, 2020

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When COVID hit us at the end of January, the Hong Kong Government announced that all students wouldn’t be able to attend school for the second time that academic year. (The first time was due to the protests back in October/November ‘19).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


Even though closing schools was the right thing to do, I thought that I was going to lose my sh*t.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


The uncertainty. The unknown. The responsibility of ensuring the kids well-being and education during these times felt heavy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


As a sensitive soul I was feeling it all, deeply.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


I was also feeling torn between my desire to be there for my kids, supporting them through home-schooling AND my own personal desires to follow my own Soul Aligned Career.


I felt frustrated, unhappy, annoyed, rageful…like I was being forced to make a choice between my roles as mother + sovereign woman.


Quick as a flash, my mind jumped in….


“Quit complaining, you’re so lucky. You’ve got 3 healthy kids. You’ve got support in place. You’ve got resources to have options. Other people out there have freaking COVID and have lost people they love, their jobs, their livelihoods. You have no right to feel sad and unhappy.”


I was feeling unhappy AF but also realised others had it way worse than me so I should stop with the pity party.


Cue: numbing the sadness, frustration and unhappiness and getting on with things.

The women I work with and who are in our community tell me that they’re unhappy…feeling fits of rage, anger and despair. 


“I don’t know why I’m so angry” they say…


Underneath it all they feel guilty for having these feelings in the first place.


These women are feeling these “darker” and “uncomfortable” emotions and yet they don’t allow themselves to feel it fully because they have so much to be grateful for and it feels wrong to go there.

Siobhan Barnes - Hong Kong Life Coach Career Coach - Nature Image4

We live in a world that has deemed certain emotions “good” and “bad.”


As a result, we don’t want to allow yourselves to feel too much “bad” stuff for fear of losing ourselves in it….as a result we don’t allow ourselves to fully embrace and feel the “good” stuff either. 


Which leads to a dulled down experience of life. One that feels dry, unfulfilling, uncreative and at times soul-less.


When you can allow yourself to access your pain AND your pleasure, you build your capacity to fully inhabit your body and meet your life + career wholeheartedly.


We need to FEEL in order to be inspired to ACT and do something about the situations we’re in and opportunities that we have available to us.


If you’re feeling unhappy AF but realise others are worse off than you…you’re in the right place! 

Siobhan Barnes - Blog Template (1)

What to do when you’re unhappy AF  (yet others are worse off than you)


Firstly, I want you to know that it’s OK to feel unhappy.  


These are strange times. They’re unprecedented. 


If you didn’t feel any emotions of distress, pain, anger, unhappiness and frustration…you’d be a psychopath. 


What you’re feeling may be your stuff — but equally you may also be simply feeling what’s going on in the collective.


You’re not alone. 


In this blog we’re going to explore:


  • Why you’re hesitant to admit, let alone feel, that you’re unhappy AF
  • What to do with what you’re feeling
  • When you’re worried you’ll descended into a downward spiral forever
  • How to know if you’re being ungrateful and just need to move on


So grab yourself a cuppa, a notebook and a pen (if that’s your jam) and let’s dive in…..


But before we do, I want to invite you to the Soul Aligned Professional Women Facebook group where I do weekly live training on the topics I cover in my blog. You can join us over HERE


Ok, onwards!

Part 1: Why you’re hesitant to admit, let alone feel, that you’re unhappy AF


We live in a Society that deems “negative” emotions as bad. 


Anxiety. Sadness. Rage. Despair. Frustration. Fear. Unhappiness. 


There are not “desired” states to be in.


When Society stigmatizes these feelings as “wrong” or “bad” we instinctively shut these feelings down as they arise in our bodies.


The self-help, spiritual world, also adds to this sentiment encouraging people to stay “high-vibe” and “feel good.”


I believe ignoring our darker emotions is not true living. It’s not the path to happiness. And it’s setting us up to fail. 


When you put up a barrier to feeling the dark, you put up a barrier to allowing yourself to experience the light too.


If you’re feeling unhappy…


There’s nothing wrong with you. 


Being unhappy is part of the human experience. 


Granted we don’t want to stay stuck unhappy forever….but the truth is we can and will flow through when we allow the process of sadness to move through us and have it’s way in our systems.


The reason particularly as women we don’t allow ourselves to admit that we’re unhappy and put up with the status quo is because of the Perfect Woman Imperative. 


The Perfect Woman Imperative is the black and white box that encourages women to:

……perform an outrageously impossible role doing all the things for all the people. 


……diminish our own inner callings, desires and contributions. 


…..factor in other people’s needs and desires for our lives in front of our own.

Siobhan Barnes - Hong Kong Life Coach Career Coach - Nature Image2

……dim, squelch, doubt, morph, shape-shift and bend over backwards into acceptable ways of being.


……balance how to show up so that we’re not “too much” or “too little” of anything. 


One of the subconscious systems of the Perfect Woman Imperative is disembodiment.


This is where as women, we can tend to numb out from our bodies and stay in our – strategizing, making sense of a situation from the neck up. Trying to ignore our heartfelt truth and intuition. 


So if you’re not wanting to feel it’s not because there’s anything wrong with you. It’s because we’re part of a system that wants us to avoid feeling the truth that we’re not supposed to stay stuck in the boxes and narrowly defined boxes we’ve been prescribed.



Part 2: What to do with what you’re feeling


It’s quite simple really: Honour it. Feel it. 


Let the tears flow. 


I’ve shared my story in previous blog posts….


When I had my epiphany that I was on the wrong career path and I had to find a different way, I had to feel the pain of the situation I was in. 


I had to feel the discomfort of having a GREAT life and not wanting it. And all the ensuing guilt that came along with that. 


I had to meet the discomfort of feeling like a “bad” person, being ungrateful, wasting my education, letting down my parents, and all the tendrils of thoughts and sensations that came along with it.


Meeting the discomfort is what’s needed to come back to the truth.


Is it fun, no? But it’s liberating AF when you know that you’re showing up with integrity in your life and on the right path for you. 


So how do you feel?


Quite simply you cry, you rage, you punch a pillow, you go for that run in the rain, you take the boxing class (even if it’s online), you journal, you see a healer, you work with your therapist.

You do whatever feels right to you to feel it. 


Emotions are energy in motion. 


By meeting your darker emotions you shift into the tender truth.

Siobhan Barnes - Hong Kong Life Coach Career Coach - Nature Image12


Part 3: When you’re worried you’ll descend into a downward spiral forever


Oftentimes when I begin working with my clients, they’re apprehensive about descending into a deep darkness that they can’t get out of. 


After years of armouring up and numbing out they’re worried what will happen when they let the facade come down and really meet the Soul Aligned Woman within. 


Yes at first we meet the discomfort, the uncomfortable. It’s hard. It’s mucky. It’s not pretty. Layers of guilt and shame arise and yet…


It’s necessary, it’s perfect in its vulnerability and SO beautiful to witness a woman come back to herself (honestly it’s the greatest joy and privilege and I’m smiling from ear to ear as I write this).


Her physiology changes. Her face softens. Her inner knowing inhabits her body more fully. Her path emerges and her courage to honour it deepens. 


She accesses her power and suddenly the black and white world of the Perfect Woman morphs into a world full of colour, possibility, pleasure and joy. The Soul Aligned Woman is here.


THIS is the woman I desire to see leading companies, parenting children, running businesses, teaching children, running organisations, showing up at the supermarket, living life.


When you allow yourself to meet your dark, you open up the damn walls to let life be about more than just hustling, grinding and surviving. 


As Valerie Rein says in her book Patriarchy Stress Disorder you shift the conversation from:


 “How much can I tolerate?” to “How good can it get?”


Mmmmmmm. YES!

ultimate key to figuring out your purpose and path


Part 4: How to know if you’re being ungrateful and just need to move on


Last week we explored the question around, “Should I just be grateful for the career I’ve got?”


I believe that when you meet your unhappiness, your doubts, your fears, — whatever negative emotion you’re feeling that you don’t want to feel….….you’ll know the truth. 


You know if you’re being ungrateful and just not appreciating what you’ve got or whether there’s genuine sadness or part of you that desires some attention, love and compassion. 


You’ll FEEL it. 


If you don’t feel it, your first step is to begin to sensitise your body. 


Sometimes after years of numbing out and armouring up it’s normal not to be able to feel. 


If you need support in this area, your first step is to download my free Soul Aligned Woman Activation Workshop which you can do over here



That’s a wrap!


Today we explored what to do when you’re unhappy AF and yet others are worse off than you.


In the blog post we covered:


Part 1: Why you’re hesitant to admit, let alone feel, that you’re unhappy AF

Part 2: What to do with what you’re feeling

Part 3: When you’re worried you’ll descended into a downward spiral forever

Part 4: How to know if you’re being ungrateful and just need to move on


Now I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know:  


  • What emotion have you been suppressing?
  • How are you feeling now?
  • What’s your biggest insight/takeaway or aha from today’s post?


I’d love to know more. 


If you want to dive deeper, make sure you come on over to the Soul Aligned Professional Women Facebook group where I do weekly live training on the topics I cover in my blog. You can join us over HERE


With love,



  1. Fran says:

    Shiv, this blog came at a perfect time for me so thank you so much! ‘Anxiety. Sadness. Rage. Despair. Frustration. Fear. Unhappiness’ – I’ve had all of those this week, and more.. accompanied with the fear that I’m spiralling out of control, and may never return! I’m so ‘good’ at welcoming my lighter emotions, and still have so much to learn about welcoming the darker end of the spectrum. Though I realise now, after reading your post, that I expressed these emotions through tears, tantrums and some truth telling. Maybe I needed that boxing class you mentioned, or a run in the rain! (it just started raining, kid you not!). I felt shame for crying and for being SO messy in front of my children, but now I realise that in so doing I’m teaching them that it’s ok to cry, and that I’m not a perfect person. Thanks Shiv, that was great! Fran

    • Siobhan Barnes says:

      Hi Fran! Thank you for sharing. Gosh I feel you. The lighter emotions can be so much easier to welcome. The darker can be scary and unknown and the fear of being taken out is real. I know what you mean about not wanting to be so messy/sad or to cry in front of our kids but it’s more than OK for them to see that mum is human and has feelings too. Sadness is OK and you being real and human, allows them to know it’s OK for them too. Let me know how you go with that run in the rain (what divine timing!) or that boxing class 😉

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