How To Not Be Terrified Of Being Happy

Carmen Jost
Carmen Jost

When everything is going right in your world. When you’re so happy that you’re afraid to blink. When things are so perfect that you feel an onslaught of anxiety because you convince yourself they can’t possibly stay this way for long. You’re at the very top, so the only way to go is down. Sure, you’re happy now. You’re thrilled. Ecstatic. Content. But something is going to fall apart and everything else will follow, like a house of cards.

You’re terrified of being happy. That’s okay. So is pretty much everyone else, even if they don’t realize it. We spend our life chasing. Chasing money, chasing people, chasing careers, chasing perfection, chasing fame, chasing social approval. We’re in the mindset that nothing is ever good enough and once we get something, we must move onto the next thing.

We’re not used to just feeling happy. We don’t even really, really understand it as a concept. We sort of think of it as some mystical thing that we’ll never be able to get our hands on or wrap our minds around.

When we are happy, we don’t even know what to do with ourselves. Instead of enjoying this moment in time, we spend most of our time worrying about when it’s going to be stripped away from us.

We also don’t exactly know how to tell when we are happy. We don’t know how to define it. We sometimes confuse happiness with satisfaction. When we finally think we’ve gotten everything we want – for now – we think we’ve found happiness. But that’s just enjoying the idea of having stuff – clothes, money, cars, expensive accessories. Whatever it is, it’s okay to want it and to have it. As long as you realize that’s not the same thing as being truly content and mentally at peace.

Happiness is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with what you have and what you don’t have. It has nothing to do with how good your life is in comparison to your friend’s life or your coworker’s life. It has everything to do with being present in the moment and enjoying your life and being grateful. It has everything to do with being able to recognize joy and being able to make room for that joy in your life.

You have to believe that you deserve to be happy. You have to believe that it is your right to experience joy, instead of worrying that the universe is playing a cruel trick on you. You cannot temporarily experience happiness and then close yourself off to it because you’re convinced that you’re going to lose everything at any moment anyway.

Whether you’re worried about it or not, whether you’re afraid of it or not, whether you’re prepared for it or not – hardship will come. You will experience difficulties. You will encounter challenges. You will experience things that will crush your heart and convince you that you will never be happy again. But trying to keep yourself in a pit of misery just to save yourself from disappointment will do nothing for you.

Avoiding happiness, just so you can save yourself from the sting of eventually losing it, will ruin you. Yes, it’s scary at the top. It’s scary to have everything go your way, and to feel happy and blessed and joyful and lucky. Because you can’t help but think of it all as already disappearing. You can’t help but wonder when it will all be taken away from you.

But at some point you have to just accept that this is the way life goes. There are periods of joy, and periods of difficulty, and periods that are just boring, and everything in between. It’s important to appreciate the times when you are happy because, whether you realize it or not, that’s when you’re recharging your batteries. That’s when you’re building up your spirit and your inner fire, so that when things get tough again, you remember why you should fight through it. You can remember those feelings of joy you had on the other side of the bridge, and you know that it’ll be worthwhile to get through this challenge, whatever it is, and to fight it with all you’ve got.

Happiness is terrifying. Sometimes, it’s even scarier than hardship. Because there’s so much more to lose. But if you refuse to be terrified of your own happiness, and if you refuse to be intimidated by the idea of finding joy in your life, you will also see that there is so much more to gain. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://rtallwin.wordpress.com R T Allwin

    Reblogged this on Chimaeral and commented:
    My reblog this week is about how scary happiness can be:

  • http://heartbeats.wordpress.com rachelshanklin

    Reblogged this on Be Still My Heart .

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