Tip #76: Don’t be afraid to be happy.
The why: You may be thinking to yourself:
“Why the heck is she writing a tip telling us not to fear happiness? Happiness is what everyone wants. It’s the ultimate goal of life. Why would anyone be afraid of it? And how is it holding me back?”
Okay, we’re not playing 20 questions here, give me a chance to explain myself.
Some things in life that hold us back are like the territorial army. They’re obvious, seen, you can face them head on. These are the ones we like, we can easily identify them and deal with them.
And then there are the things in life that hold us back that are like secret agents. They destroy us without us even knowing what’s happening.
One of these things is our fear to be happy.
It is one of those fears that hides and lurks in our subconscious, secretly sabotaging what we do.
Do you ever have those moments where you look back and realise that you sabotaged yourself? Whether that be with a relationship, a job, a friend?
I’m sure we all do, and I’m sure that we always question why.
I would wager that it is because of our subconscious fear to be happy.
When I recently dove deep into thought about my life and my experiences, I realised that actually, the thought of being happy is terrifying!
Because if we are happy, then it can be taken away from us. We have more to lose.
I worry that if something goes really really well, and actually works out that at any moment, the universe is going to come along and snatch it away.
Like giving a delicious cookie, only to see the look on someone’s face when you don’t let them eat it. The universe can be a cruel place.
If you’re sad, at least you know what you’re up against. It’s almost comforting. It doesn’t change. But having something good only for it to suddenly end, now that’s a different kind of misery altogether.
Or so it seemed.
Once I identified this elusive saboteur, I knew I could face it.
I would finally face my fear of being happy. The one thing that had been holding me back my entire life.
Here’s how I did it.
The first thing I had to do was to re-evaluate my life through a different lens. This is because, to me, it seemed like the good things I had in life didn’t really last too long.
When I was younger, if I was happy, depression would strike and take away all the things I had built. When I got older, relationships ended, I lost some good friends along the way, even my beloved cat went missing.
It seemed that all good things had to come to an end, and the end always hurt so much it didn’t really seem like trying was a good idea. All the anxious thoughts surrounding my mind and heart would tell me all the things that would go wrong if I actually cared.
But then, a year ago, I looked around me. Properly this time. Shaking off the dark clouds that had fallen over my vision.
I saw that I had always had a great and supportive family, I had brilliant friends around me who I had known for a decade, I had myself, a work in progress, constantly trying to improve, and yeah a lot of things were different, but the new things really weren’t so bad. In fact, some of the new things were certainly for the best.
I realised finally that not everything good had ended, and the good things that had ended, ended for a reason.
Some things are only meant to be transient, and as much as that sucks, you have to accept that. Because if I had never tried, all the love that still stood around me after all this time wouldn’t be there.
It is always worth trying. If you put yourself out there, sometimes you may get burned, but sometimes it can go really, really right. Yet if you never do, you’ll miss that one time where it works out.
The second thing I had to do was to recognise and air out all the reasons why I was so scared to allow myself to be happy. Once I spent that time reflecting and looking inward, I finally understood myself better, and could deal with those reasons.
If you’re ever wondering why your present isn’t working out for you, if you look into your past, you’ll find the reason. Self-reflection here is key. Don’t try to fight an invisible enemy, you’ll probably end up looking very silly punching thin air.
So to summarise:
- Count all the times it worked out, not all the times it didn’t.
- Find out what in your past is holding you back from being happy now.
Growing up is finding out that the monsters under your bed, are actually nowhere near as scary as the ones that hide inside your head.
We can all be our own worst enemies sometimes, but self-sabotage is never the way.
Yeah, sometimes good things end, and it hurts. That is, unfortunately, a fact of life. But keep trying, keep trying to be happy, don’t shy away from it, because one day you’re going to wake up and find that you have built with your own hands the life you always wanted.
And my G-d, that day is so worth going through hell for.