I’ve been feeling really great lately. Like really, REALLY great. It’s such a far cry from the incessant anxiety, panic, intrusive thoughts, and depression that flooded me before the wedding earlier this year. Now, I spend whole days without any of those things and I’m getting to see how “normal” people must feel most of the time.
And of course, after days of sweetness and ease, my mind starts to race with, “what if all of that anxiety comes back?” Or even just, “WHEN is it going to come back?” as if I fully expect it to. I’ve also found myself feeling guilty for being so happy when so many others are suffering. I haven’t felt inspired to post about anything other than good, happy stuff on my Instagram, and I wonder if people hate seeing me bounce around all joyful. And of course, there’s always the fear of “jinxing it.”
I’ve seen a pattern in my own life to become suspicious of happiness, as if it’s only when I’m truly happy that bad things will happen; that if I allow myself to completely relax into the happiness, something horrible waits on the other side. So then perhaps I find ways to lessen or dampen the happiness, or even screw it all up.
Why do we ever second guess our own happiness? Why do we sabotage the ways in which we grow and flourish?
Here are a few ways I’m learning to combat this strange desire to self-sabotage that may help you too.
-Consider why you feel the need to self-sabotage.
Do you feel as if maybe you don’t deserve to be happy? Are you afraid that something bad will happen if you’re happy and at ease?
I’ve had to get real with myself and unearth unconscious behaviors that were embedded years ago.
Yes, there is a part of me that wonders if I deserve that happiness, especially when others suffer. And yes, a part of me is afraid something bad will happen if I’m not “on guard,” from past experiences where as soon as I let myself relax, trauma ensued.
Take out a journal and really dig deep as to why it might be difficult for you to let go into goodness.
-Realize that you deserve happiness, it IS possible for you, and it’s safe to be well.
This is huge. I’ve had to learn how to open to the belief that I totally and completely deserve to be happy. And not just when I accomplish something or not just because I’ve braved hardship, but because I naturally do. Because I’m a worthy, deserving, lovable person as I am.
Also, I’ve opened to the idea that it IS possible for me. When we’ve struggled with anxiety and depression, it’s so easy to believe that we’ll never be happy and that it isn’t possible for us. But it is. I look around and I see other people living wonderful lives so I know that it’s possible. Why would I think it wouldn’t be possible for ME?
It is safe to be happy. It is safe to relax. As previously mentioned, we can feel vulnerable if we’re not “on guard” trying to protect ourselves from shock and pain. Yes, pain might come. But it’s not because we were happy. It’s just the way life works. And being constantly anxious and on guard doesn’t stop the pain either. So we can enjoy our lives now or be miserable.
-Put everyone else aside.
I’ve been noticing how often I take other people into consideration. My “followers” and my blog readers come into my mind often when I think about sharing my life and I have to catch myself. Who cares? (no offense… lol) But really, in the grand scheme of things, what everyone else thinks doesn’t matter.
As I grow and change, I question what this online work will become. I rarely have the desire to post about mental health anymore because I realize that there’s more to life than that for me right now. So I’ve been wanting to branch out with the topics of my blog (more lifestyle) and the topics for my Instagram posts. But then of course, I start thinking about everyone else. Will they be annoyed? Will I lose people?
Then I remind myself, put everyone else aside. You can’t live your life trying to please everyone else. You just have to go full speed ahead with what feels good for YOU and the people that it resonates with will stick around.
Yes, people in this world suffer and sometimes it’s hard to be happy when you realize that. But what good are we going to do while also suffering? When we allow ourselves to be happy and at ease, THEN we can show up for others. THEN we can have the energy and the willingness to shine our lights. So let yourself shine, in whatever way that looks like.
You deserve happiness. It is safe for you to be happy. It is infinitely possible for you to be happy. Let the good times roll, my sweet friends. Cherish every moment.
Where do you notice your tendency to self-sabotage and how do you help counteract that?