Fear of being happy

So I’ve realised that I have something like a fear of being happy, or at least a fear to admitting that this is how I feel. Why? Probably because I worry that if I admit to this state of being, get comfortable in it then something cruel and horrible will happen and it will be dramatically taken away from me. Much better to be merely ‘okay’, things could be better they could be worse, than to be absolutely dazzlingly great isn’t it?

Apparently this isn’t an abnormal way to feel. Apparently a lot of people are cautious about admitting when things are going great and that they’re pretty darn content with their lives at that current moment. This is something that came to light to me not long ago when chatting with a friend (this friend also requested a mention, and although I did tell her I’m not a radio chat show I will indulge her just this so once – so this friend is Lauren, hello Lauren.) So anyway, Lauren suggested that perhaps this feeling has something to do with being relatively young and at an early stage in my career. I still have a long way to go and so admitting that things are going well this early on seems silly and naive. This feeling, however, isn’t confined to my work life.

Maybe another reason has something to do with acceptance, with accepting that to be happy constantly would be horrible and an absurd state of being and so it’s okay to admit to temporary happiness. Perhaps it’s learning to be comfortable with how you feel in the present moment in time, and not worrying too much about the future. I don’t know, but it seems happiness is a hard thing to quantify and understand. Maybe this always thinking that there could be, probably is, something better around the corner stems from our culture of materialism and ever expanding wants and provisions for these. To the fact that very often there actually is something better than the thing that you have.

It would appear that happiness – on the face of it so simple an emotion – is actually quite a tricksy one. It is also, I think, one of the most overused and overgeneralised of emotions in our society. People, particularly on various social media platforms, are quick to shout about their amazing lives and how happy they are at the moment. But is this really how they’re feeling? The truth is, such statements in no way correlate with actual human emotions – sometimes yes they might reflect how someone is feeling but often they don’t. With others expressing their insane levels of happiness all over the place we may be left feeling this is how we should be feeling all the time, and concerned about our own levels of happiness.

I think we have a complicated relationship with happiness that’s very hard to pin down, and the conclusion to all of this – I would say – is that it’s most likely a good idea to learn to be happy with our own feelings of happiness whatever they may be…

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