Are you afraid of being happy?

Are you afraid of being happy? I am. But it wasn’t always the case. It started about 7 years ago. I remember it as vividly as the day it happened…

It is April fool’s day, year 2010 and I am at work. I am just finishing up a call and the other line is ringing. It is close to lunchtime but I figured one last call won’t kill me. Plus it could be my sister calling with some last minute details.  Nancy is travelling with some friends to some exotic place and is sending my niece to stay with me a couple of weeks. So I pick up, very excited. It is certainly not the voices I am expecting to hear. It is a person with a very formal and cold tone of voice.

  • “Hello May I speak with Mrs Duplessy?”
  • “This is she”
  • “Well , we have your niece here with us and she would like to speak to you.”

I relax. It is my niece. She probably missed her plane and is running late. Typical. Asking my niece to catch a plane on time is like asking a mouse to catch fish. It’s against nature. I wait readying myself with a long list of “I told you so”.  The minute I hear her voice I start:

  • “Well, well, well, let me guess you missed your plane again?”

No answer at first then I hear sobbing. I am a bit shocked and embarrassed.

  • “Don’t tell me you’re crying because you missed the plane?”

More sobbing. This time louder. She is becoming a tad bit hysterical. It is only then that it hit me. She is not at the airport and something is very wrong. Impatient, I ask her: “What’s wrong?”

  • “She is dead, she answered. Nancy’s dead!”

My brain went dark. Shutting down to process the piece of information I’ve just received.

“She is dead”, she keeps repeating as if she is trying to process the information too. I hear the voice with the cold and formal tone again. Someone who’s probably hospital staff took back the phone and is trying to explain the situation……

This was April 2010. Fast forward to 2017. I finally have enough distance to realize I was preventing myself from being happy. I was afraid as soon as I’d allow myself to be happy something wrong would happen. I simply had lost faith in life.

But now I know better. I have regained my faith in life. At least a good amount of it. After all, isn’t it what being happy’s all about? Being happy is choosing to have faith in life even though we know fully well things may take a turn for the worst in the blink of an eye. It’s to accept life’s ebb and flow and realize we can’t control everything no matter how hard we try. I should know. I am a control freak masquerading as a free spirit.

Here are some of the things I tell myself when I notice myself slipping back into “I am afraid of being happy” territory:

  • You’re 40 now. Technically you could be halfway through your entire lifespan so don’t waste it by thinking about what could go wrong.
  • Life is short. This could be your last happy moment so enjoy it.
  • We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • Preventing yourself from enjoying this moment won’t spare you the hardship that may come.
  • You’re making memories to get you through the tough times when and if they come so embrace the moment.
  • Happiness is a matter of perspective so find a new perspective.

What about you? Are you afraid of being happy too sometimes? Do you know someone who’s afraid of being happy? How do you cope with those feelings? I think we all know at least one person.

Once again don’t forget to comment like or share this article! I’ll be back on the 25th with another article. Maybe out of sheer desperation of what to write I’ll share my food journal for the week 🙂

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