I don’t think it’s really the fear of happiness but rather the fear of losing it.
I felt that way when my daughter and I returned home to Australia after visiting the USA for five weeks.
We made some good memories, achieved a few major goals, had a smooth trip back, came home to a finished renovation and a hubby whom I missed terribly. So much to be grateful for. Despite all that, I felt like things were ‘too good.’
I told myself to soak it in, to enjoy, but the anxious part of my brain told me to prepare for the worst.
Why do I do this? I asked my therapist. Why do I feel strange when I’m feeling good? She spoke to me about being whole.
There are dark parts to my personality which do not disappear when I’m feeling happy. Those shadows are with me always, just like all the other complex emotions I feel. Some days they are just there in a smaller capacity.
The idea makes complete sense. It’s a modern concept to strive for consistent happiness. It’s not only unsustainable it’s unnatural.
I did some further reflecting as some Notorious BIG lyrics played in my mind, “Mo money, mo problems.” The more we have, the more there is to lose. This leaves us vulnerable. When I think vulnerability Brene Brown immediately comes to mind.
“We are trying to dress-rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.” Brene Brown
Perhaps joy becomes a terrifying emotion because it exposes us. Perhaps the solution is to first recognise all the other feelings going on in the background, and try our darndest to embrace vulnerability as well. This might prevent the anxious brain from catastrophizing.
We are always all the parts of ourselves. All the emotions. Always whole. Vulnerability is always there if we just look deep enough. And just like weather shifts around the Earth, there are always storms, and there is always a sun, it all depends on where you’re standing.
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