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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Author: dawnrieniets

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6 thoughts on “Are You Afraid Of Being Happy?

  1. This is so moving Dawn.
    I dress rehearse and catastrophise often, it’s just a side effect of living through tragedy. But it is good, it is essential to remember that we are whole. Your words are wise x

    Posted on August 1, 2016 at 9:21 am
    1. I can imagine it’s a side effect of living through a tragedy- I never thought of that though it seems so obvious. I’ve been more an observer of tragedies that people close to me have been through. It’s enough to scare the bejeezes outta me. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. xoxo

      Posted on August 1, 2016 at 9:51 am
  2. Love this! I’m constantly thinking to myself is this the last ____… I just want to hold onto all these fleeting moments so tightly, but it’s true that you have to just try to enjoy it and let go. I need to really practice that! Xxx

    Posted on August 2, 2016 at 12:57 am
    1. Practice, practice, practice. I need to stop picturing my child falling down our new stairs. I want to slap myself sometimes!

      Posted on August 2, 2016 at 5:16 am
  3. I guess it’s a matter of balancing being a realist that all the happy days and moments will pass, just like the was and shitty moments do, without becoming weighed down by that realisation.the challenge is to use that to heighten the moments of happiness and not to dull them.

    Posted on August 2, 2016 at 2:57 am
    1. True words. Nothing in life is permanent. I’m not even sure what this looks like for me yet…prolly all just part of my JOURNEY. 😉

      Posted on August 2, 2016 at 5:17 am