It may sound crazy, but all too often people are literally afraid of feeling happy.
These individuals certainly didn’t start out that way – in fact, some of them were the happiest children of all. Think about how children approach life: constantly in search of more fun, play and adventure. So what happens to them later in life to short-circuit their willingness to feel great?
Well, I guess you could say “life happens.” They have left their childlike idealism and wonderment about the world behind, as nearly all of us do, having seen that life usually doesn’t “just work out that way” by itself. Even the “best laid plans” have not always led to achieving their goals. Feeling thwarted and defeated in their expectation of perpetual joy being dashed, they no longer allow themselves the luxury of dreaming about “what could be….”
It’s easy to see now where all of these cliché phrases came from right? Here’s another one – most of the people who fit this description (perhaps including you?) would just explain that they are “more realistic” now that they’re older. (HINT: That’s usually code for “more resigned, cynical and pessimistic!”)
Upon closer examination, there’s something darker at work for habitual “fun avoiders.” It’s suppressing their natural ability to feel joy and true happiness, even in those moments where it would be completely appropriate.
It generally boils down to two subconscious thoughts that are stopping them. Typically, they don’t want to allow themselves to feel too excited, too exuberant or too inspired for fear that:
- The happy feeling won’t last, and before they know it the sadness, emptiness, or feelings of depression will return or
- Feeling good will somehow “jinx” their luck at experiencing an enjoyable situation, and cause adversity to replace the joy
So…part of them still has a childlike wish that life could be constant happiness and play. And that part of them still believes that good things can and should “just happen.” And that innocent part of them that wants to stay innocent (i.e., the passive recipient of only good things) basically doesn’t want to feel happy because that will highlight and magnify their disappointment when the next adversity comes along to interrupt the happy feeling. So in their mind, it’s almost as though the happy feeling causes the unhappy ones that come later.
Looking at this in the light of day you can see how illogical that is, right?
Yes, negative feelings might follow the happy ones – but then again, they might not! As we all know, life happens in a succession of moments, so what is true in this moment, may absolutely not be true in the next. If you really feel that happiness or fun times are sure to pass, then what makes it so hard to believe and trust that the sadness or difficult times will also pass?!
Feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, or lethargy are hard to get rid of because they require no effort to hold you in their grip. However, feeling good by looking for opportunities to experience fun, joy, laughter, silliness, requires a little bit of effort. Put another way: you always have the power to find something to feel good about – it’s always in your hands!
So, fear not! Grab all the happiness available to you, confident in the knowledge that you get to choose being happy, and staying happy, no matter what bumps in the road may come your way.
Click HERE if you’d like to know my 4-step process on “How to Inject a Little Joy into a Less-Than-Happy Moment.”