I recently realized that I’m afraid of happiness. I’m afraid of letting my guard down in the face of happiness. I’m afraid to sit in the moment and feel okay.
Part of this is due to a lack of trust; I don’t trust happiness. I don’t trust that it’s real, or that it’s honest. I’ve had too many experiences in life when I’ve felt really, really good about something and then been devastated when that something fell apart.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think a lot of us are secretly afraid of happiness. We are afraid of feeling good because we fear that the feeling is is transient. We believe that highs are always followed by lows, so we brace ourselves for the lows rather than finding comfort in the highs. We try not to get our hopes up too high because we are afraid of being crushed if things don’t go according to plan.
We also convince ourselves that it’s not realistic to be happy. It’s not realistic to feel okay because deep down, we know that life isn’t perfect, so how can we be happy? How can we be happy if we know that there are so many things to be unhappy about? We convince ourselves that this feeling of happiness is almost too good to be true. We train our minds to look for what is wrong when things feel right. We search for imperfections. We search for reasons to avoid happiness.
A psychiatrist in England did a study and found that the fear of happiness is highly correlated with depression. He suggested that people feel anxious or uncomfortable when they are not worrying. Along with this, people are afraid that when they do feel happy, it won’t last. It will be taken away from them again. In other words, feeling happy means that we have something to lose. And I think that’s what we are all terrified of — this loss.
We convince ourselves that this feeling is fleeting, and we become afraid of falling down after we actually do experience happiness. We don’t want to experience the inevitable low that will follow the high, so we try not to feel too happy. To protect ourselves, we mute our happiness. We don’t allow ourselves to truly enjoy it.
I know you’re afraid of happiness — I am too. But I also know that we don’t have to be. I know that it’s okay to feel okay, and it’s even okay to feel good.
I’ve learned that not every high ends in a low. I’ve also learned that every low does come to an end, and that sometimes happiness actually does last. We must also remember that even when we do have lows, we always bounce back, so we shouldn’t waste our time worrying about the lows when they aren’t with us. It’s completely okay to be blissful and happy, and it’s okay to ignore the anxious thoughts.
Because truth be told, we have nothing to lose by feeling good. And we have everything to lose if we deprive ourselves of the chance to feel happiness. We miss out on life. We miss out on the good stuff. We don’t have to earn happiness. We can have it for free. So why don’t we accept it?
Sometimes it’s okay to just let life be easy for a change. It’s okay to let things happen without over-investing in them emotionally. It’s okay to take a break from running and running and to just sit down and admire the scenery and actually feel okay.
It’s truly okay to let things be okay. We think that life has to be hard, and sometimes it is, but definitely not always. So when it’s not hard, don’t force it to be. Don’t search for reasons to be anxious. We don’t always have to be conquering mountains. We are brave and strong even when when rest, even when we let things be okay.
I know you won’t lose your fear overnight. I won’t either. But in time, I think we will become a little more courageous. I think we will learn how to let go of our fears. I think we will learn how to feel the good parts of life, without worrying so much about the hard stuff.
When things are okay, let them be okay. Don’t search for reasons that you shouldn’t feel happy. Because these reasons are all in your head.
It’s okay to be happy. So please, let happiness in, rather than pushing it away.
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