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February 17, 2017

Scared To Be Happy

Scared To Be Happy

While I have strived to be happy my entire life, the truth is there is a small part of me that is always scared when I do feel happy.

It almost feels like I have a small narrator in my mind always reminding me to be careful because something bad will probably happen to take away the happiness I’m feeling.

I’m not a mental health professional, and I don’t believe I have cherophobia because I’m not scared of being happy, I’m just in a constant state of awareness that the happiness I feel might lead to something bad happening.

I believe this underlying fear or hyper awareness is due to the emotional and mental abuse I suffered as a child.

Even as a child, despite all the abuse, it was easy for me to find happiness in little things, like a good book, playing with my dolls or spending time with my brother listening to music or butterfly hunting.

I always considered myself an optimist.  I credit my undying hope and optimism in surviving and learning to become a normal functioning human being.  Unfortunately, as a child my optimism and hope was often shaken when any feelings of happiness I was experiencing ended either with mockery, insults, pain or punishment.

Looking back on my childhood, it’s almost as though my mother would become angry when she saw me happy.  According to her I ruined her life by being born so how dare I be happy while she was miserable.

I remember my mother asking what I was so happy about, which was followed by a reminder that we were poor, she had to work two jobs, and we had nothing.  This led me to believe that happiness was something we acquired through money and material possessions.

I believe after 18 years of having moments of happiness constantly squashed with emotional and mental abuse has caused me to not fear being happy, but to believe that happiness must be followed by a negative event.

I don’t avoid being happy, but I find myself always asking, “Okay, what’s going to happen now.”  At times I do find myself questioning whether I deserve to be truly happy or am I being punished, except I’m never sure for what.

While I’ve made some choices in my life which I regret, I do believe I deserve to be happy.

I also have a problem where I sometimes feel I can’t be happy unless everyone else is happy.  Recently I learned the brother I met a few years back had a stroke last year and I ask myself, how can I be happy when he’s living through such a difficult time.  Wouldn’t that be selfish of me?

I also feel everything in my life has to be perfect in order for me to feel happy.  I can’t be happy until I lose weight, quit smoking or conquer my fears.

Despite all these mental obstacles I’ve created for myself, I know in my heart I deserve to be happy.

I have to find a way to be happy without feeling that I’m being selfish, without feeling guilty, or believing some tragedy will befall me simply because I’m happy.

After doing some research I found the following information which I think will be useful to me, and hopefully others:

1.         Ask What Happiness Means To You

True happiness isn’t a fleeting moment of joy like winning the lottery.  Happiness is what you feel when you’re alone and at peace or before you go to sleep and think about the great day you had.

For me happiness is being at peace with the life I’ve lived and learning to forgive myself for choices I made in life that I now realize weren’t the best choices.

Happiness for me is accepting myself as an imperfect human being that will always make mistakes but can grow from them.

Happiness for me is overcoming my fears and perfectionism.

Happiness for me is sitting at the beach and knowing I deserve a day of pure relaxation and that I deserve to pursue my dreams.

2.         Stop Feeling Bad About Being Happy

When we feel we have to be miserable because people in our lives are miserable or not doing well, we’re not helping them.  We’re just giving the miserable people in our lives company.

When we’re happy and taking care of ourselves we are better equipped emotionally and mentally to give to others who are struggling or less fortunate.  We are more capable of giving more compassion, more support and love to those in our lives who may be struggling through difficult times.

When we feel guilty for being happy we’re not helping anyone, and only hurting ourselves.

3.         Accept That You Do Deserve To Be Happy

We are all human beings and we are imperfect.  There isn’t a human being in this world that has not made mistakes or bad choices and to think we don’t deserve to be happy because of our mistakes is absurd.

When we learn to accept our past mistakes and forgive ourselves and allow ourselves to be happy, we are better equipped to help and give to others.

When we allow ourselves to be happy we are more able to teach others so maybe they won’t make the same mistakes we made.  We are more charitable, more compassionate and giving of ourselves. 

If we desire to “do right by” or “repent for” our past mistakes, then being happy is required of us in life.  We cannot move forward and grow and help others or share the wisdom we acquired through our mistakes if we punish ourselves with misery.

We not only deserve to be happy, but it is essential if we want to grow and help ourselves and others.

4.         Understand that “What If” Accomplishes Nothing

I’m very guilty of falling into the “What If” mindset.  I rationalize it by telling myself that it’s better to be prepared for the worst case scenario than being unprepared.

In reality it does nothing except take away the happiness I was feeling and that I deserved to have.

I have wasted entire days of my life worrying about something bad happening, and nothing bad ever happened, except that I robbed myself of days from my short life where I could have been happy.

Worrying about what might happen does absolutely nothing, except waste our time and life when we could have been happy, productive and giving to others.

5.         Allowing Ourselves To Be Happy Is A Strong And Brave Choice

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of constant worrying and being miserable.  It’s easy to convince ourselves that we deserve to be miserable for mistakes we’ve made, or because of pain we have lived through.

Choosing to be happy and allowing ourselves to be happy is a strong and brave choice.  It takes strength to face the world and life with a positive attitude and embrace our flaws and say we deserve to be happy.

We can’t be at our best when we deny ourselves the right to be happy.  We aren’t able to give to others or help others when we are not happy and at our best.

It takes tremendous strength to allow ourselves to become the best we can be, so we can give to others the best of us.

To punish ourselves with misery is selfish because we give nothing back to life or others.  There is no strength in being miserable.  It is not brave to make ourselves martyrs who are getting by in life as we swim in pain.

It is the brave who allow themselves to be happy despite the pain they acquired and the mistakes they have made in life.

I’m tired of worrying of what might happen.  I’m tired of feeling I have to be perfect before I can be happy.  I’m tired of my childhood fears intruding on my life.

I have strived to be happy my entire life and I’m ready to learn to allow myself the happiness that life demands I experience.

Life is so short, a fleeting moment in time.  I want to experience guilt free happiness before I leave this earth.



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