Does Happiness Scare You?

Date posted: November 19, 2014

It’s been just about two years since I started my healthy living/weight loss journey, and I’m still learning to take it one day at a time. The first year was great! It was filled with mostly successes and significant weight loss, which kept me plugged in and motivated. I was feeling better than I had for years.

Year two started off pretty good, as well. I shed a decent number of pounds in the first six months. The second six? Not soFreudquote much. Overall, I’ve done a pretty good job of maintaining my success, but I’ve still got miles to go on my self-talk (and a decent amount of weight I’d still like to lose). In reviewing the last half of this year, I’ve been beating myself up for not having any banner losses instead of celebrating the fact that I’ve maintained an impressive result for quite some time.

What’s up with our tendency to focus on the negative? This has been the question rolling around in my mind lately. Since we get to choose our thoughts, why is the shitty stuff most often our default?

Here’s what I’ve come up with for me. See if it resonates with you:

By celebrating my successes, I let my guard down. Failure and sabotage can come sneaking in without my noticing. I’ll be blindsided and unprepared, and as a result, all my hard work will be for naught. It’s better to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Or is it?

I remember an interview with Brené Brown where she said, “If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy.” She says when we lose our connection to vulnerability, “joy becomes foreboding.” Oh yeah. I get that.

If I stay in the middle lane and something bad happens, I won’t be as devastated. If something great happens, then it’s a bonus. As Brené says, “We’re trying to dress-rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.”

Whoa. Preach, sista. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Do you, too, find yourself hesitant to acknowledge your successes?

Are you more comfortable commiserating than you are celebrating?

If discipline, willpower, or focus was not the reason for you being stuck, what might really be going on?

Perhaps a heartfelt convo with your Little One can give you some insight.

Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it:

At the top of a page, write the following question:

“What feels so scary about embracing joy?”

And then let ‘er rip. Free-write with no editing, censoring, correcting, or judging. Allow the words to flow even if some of them are “this feels silly” or “I don’t know what to say”. The key is to keep writing. It can take about three journal pages to get out of your head and let your soul’s voice be heard.

Are you up for the challenge? State your commitment in the comments on my blog, or simply share your thoughts on this perspective. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Until next week, keep taking those small steps to Live Out Loud.

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