smiling woman in blue and white floral tube dress

The Truth Is, You’re Afraid Of Happiness

The truth is that we can have it all, and that’s terrifying. We can have perfect happiness. We can have perfect health. We can have success, flourishing finances, an amazing relationship.

But we live within the limits of our minds. The universe is infinite; what is available to us is limitless beyond measure. And the universe is entirely impartial; it is a constant creator, it will generate what you ask it to generate. What you step towards, it will bring forward. The seeds you sow are the fruits you reap.

So why do we have so much resistance to happiness? Why do we have resistance to health, fitness, love, true levels of bliss and peace?

Put more pointedly, why does happiness frighten us?

Alan de Botton, in Essays in Love, mentions the phenomenon of anhedonia, a type of sea sickness that is commonly diagnosed among travellers who are overtaken by the perfection of their surroundings in a breathtaking region of Spain. Suddenly, life is perfect—they are fully enjoying the present moment, which is not only lacking any imperfection, but is beyond their conception of what could be possible on Earth. So, the body retaliates in an inability to accept the perfect happiness and bliss of the present moment—the body rejects it, revolts against it. The body becomes sick in order to spoil the overwhelming sanctity of the scenery. It rationalizes to itself, If we disappoint ourselves first, the world has no chance at it. 

Perhaps that’s why we feel so incompetent in accepting happiness. I often remark that most people wouldn’t know what to do with peace if they stumbled upon it. We’re too accustomed to rivalry, to hatred, to disease, to disappointment, to the fickleness of what we’ve come to understand as life. But what if life were entirely devoid of a predetermined shape? What if our lives were as amorphous as a puddle of water, taking the shape of our minds alone?

Maybe a better question is, what would we do if we were happy? Well, we would lose many parts of ourselves, because we would have to let many parts of ourselves die. And all of our split-selves within our psyche want to survive. We live within the confines of our minds because that is what we believe to be true, and if we’re suddenly confronted with evidence to the contrary, then we are forced to learn the rules of life all over again.

And what are the rules of life? Well, behold, another terrifying truth: there are none. You have imposed the rules you think should be there onto the world, onto existence, onto your life. There are no rules in the game of life. There are no limits. There are actions and there are consequences; there are no rules.

How we act and how we live are in constant communication; they are a constant feedback loop. We say we want happiness or we want love or we want freedom, and yet we act against it. Or when faced with an opportunity for it, we sabotage it. Jailbreaking the mind is not easily done, and most of us don’t realize that we have to do it (because most of us don’t realize we’re in a prison of our own creation). We don’t realize we’ve punished ourselves and condemned ourselves to a less-than-happy life, because in our minds, this is the life we have and this is what is possible for us. 

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