Irrational Fear

Well a promise is a promise; I promised myself more dedication to this blog, and so I’ve returned, with nothing but the thought of ice cream on my mind (what else is new). Nonetheless, I’m here, and I’m ready to write about happiness.

Why are some of us so afraid of happiness? Doesn’t that feel somewhat counterintuitive? We’re supposed to be attracted to happiness because it brings us joy and, in retrospect, is supposed to cancel out the bad in our lives. So why is it something to fear?

If you’re anything like me, then it purely comes down to timing. Everything has an expiration date–eggs, milk, relationships, school, dreams, and, ultimately, happiness. It’s as if there’s some invisible “best before date” sticker slapped right on the back of our happiness and, unbeknownst to us, that joy will turn sour at the turn of the full moon. One minute we’re laughing in our bliss and a fortnight later things begin to take a turn for the worst. Isn’t that always how life works? You can’t have too much of a good thing and like the Canadian genius Nelly Furtado told us, good things always come to an end (though her rendition posed the idea more of a question but you get the picture).

I’m baffled at my logic. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long since I felt happy but now that I’m experiencing some form of enjoyment and excitement in my life, I’m suddenly more cautious than ever. It’s as if I feel the absolute need to protect my heart from some unforeseen darkness that looms just around the corner of this miracle on 34th street. Like I’m on a ferris wheel and all at once we’re going to tumble to the ground. Have you ever have that thought? When you’re on the ride, at the very top, taking in the view and the fresh, untainted air and you look down. All at once you get the looming thought of doom: “this could unhinge and roll away at any second”. Am I the only one?

Well happiness feels a lot like that terrifying sensation. It’s not a bad thing, I guess, being leery of happiness. As we grow older, our trust in others, their emotions, and even ourselves seems to deteriorate. Take free things, for example. We, as adults, are so repelled from accepting anything free. I noticed this one time in university, when my student club attempted to hand out free candy as a “random acts of kindness” campaign during finals. 9 times out of 10 the students not only blatantly avoided our actions, but some even questioned our motives. I specifically remember one student who, upon realizing my confusion towards the latter question, simply stated “nothing is free in this world”.

Maybe that’s our mentality as adults, because I definitely don’t remember thinking in this capacity as a child. Maybe, after so many years of existence on this Earth, we’ve experience so much rejection, hate, fear, and judgement that we’ve lost our ability to trust. I know, deep down, that I have. The idea of putting faith in people and projects and even happiness is so terrifying that I, instead, run from it.

In order to embrace my happiness and understand that maybe, just maybe, it won’t go away, I think I need to let go of this fear and embrace emotions for what they are. I’m not saying this is an easy task by any means, but I really, truly believe that happiness is not something I should run away from or shun or question. Instead of giving into the societal pre-conditioning I’ve been primed with, I need to start taking a step back, taking off the critical lenses I’ve been accustomed to, and let it go. Believing that this happiness, even if it doesn’t last, will lead me to somewhere good is my new goal for this year. I deserve happiness, just like any one else, so who am I to push it away when it comes knocking at my door? Instead of turning off the outside light and locking the door, maybe I should let happiness in, offer it a nice cup of Earl Grey, and ask it how it’s been. It’s been awhile, but happiness and I have all the time in the world to catch up.

Until next time,

Jasmine

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