Are you sabotaging your happiness?
If you asked me this question a few years ago, I’d say no way, but then I became aware of the “shoe drop” mentality that I most definitely possessed. It’s that feeling you get when a lot of good things have happened, but you’re waiting for a bomb/shoe/X traumatic life event to happen to take away all that joy.
If that sounds like you, you are most definitely sabotaging your own happiness, and as Brené Brown states, you are among the vast majority of the population.
If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy. How many of you have ever sat up and thought, ‘Wow, work’s going good, good relationship with my partner, parents seem to be doing okay. Holy crap. Something bad’s going to happen’? You know what that is? When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding: ‘I’m scared it’s going to be taken away. The other shoe’s going to drop…’ What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch.
We don’t believe that happiness can or will stick around, so in an effort to escape the potential for disappointment, heartbreak, etc… we tell ourselves it’s too good to be true. But what’s ironic is that this protective reaction doesn’t actually protect us from anything - it only squashes the joy. If the bad thing happens, (i.e. for me it used to always be the fear of death of someone I loved, I know, dark:)), it’s still going to cause immense pain, and there’s NO WAY to prepare for it!
So we might as well stop protecting ourselves and start feeling the joy, right!?
What would happen if you acknowledged more of the joy, truly felt it and didn’t fight it?
The next time you notice yourself defaulting to doom and gloom after realizing that things are going pretty damn well in your life, stop yourself, challenge that habitual thought pattern.
Catch it, notice it, breathe through it, and eventually, you’ll notice that those moments will happen more frequently and you’ll start to feel a lot more fulfilled.
What’s really cool about our brains is that, at any age, we can re-train our neural pathways to override this pattern of going from the ultimate high to the lowest of lows. You can teach an “old dog” new tricks. Let me know how it goes!