Why are we so scared of being happy? I’ll admit it, I am. I’m terrified.
I asked my Dad last night why it is that when things go so right in life we live in fear of it being too good to be true and wait for the bad things to happen. He asked if it was a belief in balance that was to blame.
But, can’t I believe in balance without being constantly aware of how the scales are tipping? Or being scared in the knowledge that the direction of the tip will change? Why do we believe that what goes up, must come down (besides the gravity argument, of course!)? Why is the norm for us to expect things to go wrong, not right? Why can’t I just be happy?
Isn’t it ridiculous that for so many of us happiness is marred with an underlying fear of what is lurking around the corner, and I for one don’t want to be like this anymore. I have, recently, got better. In working through my depression, becoming more mindful, more self-aware, and more accepting of myself, the level of happiness that I get to before the fear starts to loom has increased. But it’s still there.
I started to analyse what has changed in my life, and in my way of thinking and living, that has allowed me to change thus far already… I have become far more relaxed, and without wanting to sound too cheesy, more at one with the world that I inhabit. In doing so, I have found myself not fighting against it as much, letting it take me where it wants me to go rather than predefining where that should be and constantly pushing to get there. It’s liberating and feels right (once the initial panic of doing so had worn off). My life has got continually better ever since, but then, cue the fear creeping in.
Do we constantly get let down because we are so keen on having plans, on mapping out our futures, predicting what we want to happen, and trying our hardest to make it so?
Life is not a box of chocolates all neatly packed for us to pick and choose. Life is an adventure. When we go on adventures, of any kind, we know that it will not all go to plan let alone go smoothly. But hey, isn’t this challenge and thrill of the unexpected exactly why we go on adventures? No matter how bad things get, at the end of an adventure it is always the tough times that make us feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, it’s the unexpected crazy things that make us shake our heads in disbelief, yet with a weird happy grin on our faces!
So we should stop planning and trying too hard. We should treat life as the adventure that it is, where things cannot be planned because it is impossible to know where you’re going. To see the happiness, sadness, good and bad things as all part and parcel of the journey. There are no checks and balances lurking around the corner to catch us out. It’s not a game to be played and won. There are just amazing experiences to be had – some good, some bad, some easy, some bloody hard. We have to embrace each one for what it is and make the most of it, rather than spending all of our happiness worrying about when our luck will run out. Enjoying the happiness, being grateful for being happy, immersing ourselves in the happiness. And when a bad experience does come along, embracing that too, being present in that moment is the only way we’ll truly know how to move on from the bad and back into the good, rather than just questioning when the badness will end. And we know that it’s all just part of life’s great adventure. And, as my Dad said, feeling blessed and grateful for the benefits and enrichment that each experience brings to our lives.
In a way, the classic mantra has it all summed up: “dont worry, be happy”.
Just BE (happy).