I’ve known this for a while and I live by this truth.
But part of taking responsibility for your own happiness is realising that we have to be open to the idea that we don’t know everything about ourselves. In fact, we might sometimes be the last kid invited to the party.
If you’re not familiar with Gay Hendricks and his book “The Big Leap”, this one should go for your reading list right now.
He talks about how we all have an invisible limit (we put on ourselves) of just how much happiness we allow ourselves to have before we sabotage it.
Does this sound familiar?
You get some real great news, you’re elated, you’re happy to go home and tell your significant other all about it. But as you get home, you see a stack of dishes in the sink that your partner promised to do before leaving, or maybe something else (whatever that might be), triggers you and sets you off. Now, instead of celebrating the happy news, you’re having a fight.
Or you get an unexpected sum of money. Cheque in the mail, extra client, or maybe some money from your gran. And then, within a short time, something breaks in your home, or in your car. And you need to repair it. Thank goodness you got that extra money, right? Too bad you’re going to have to spend it all on fixing whatever broke down.
And while with the money example it’s harder to explain and believe that it’s not just coincidence (even though I truly believe it is not, but that’s subject for another time), when it comes to happiness, it is so clear to see. Step away from the situation and see it for what it is.
You got happy. You got so happy, in fact, that you thought you were too happy perhaps, and not deserving of such overwhelming joy. So what should you do? Oh yeah, that stack of dishes. Let’s have a row about that. That will calm me down and bring my happiness level to an acceptable, bearable amount.
Sabotaging your own happiness because you don’t want to be too happy happens more often than we’d like (that is, if we don’t start observing this in ourselves and working on it asap).
“The Big Leap” opened my eyes to this concept a few years ago and it’s a true gamechanger.
But even though I live knowing, deep in my heart, that my happiness level lies in my own hands. And even though I observe my behaviour when I feel that special “extra shot of happy” more elated than I’m used to. Even so, I’ve been recently reminded (again!) that knowing all the theory doesn’t mean that you can notice your own patterns and behaviours by yourself 100% of the time.
I stand in front of you (virtually), a very, very, VERY happy woman.
Yet, until last week, it didn’t even cross my mind that a part of me felt guilty for being perhaps “too happy”, while there are other miserable human beings walking around this world.
Let me be clear: there is no such thing as being “too happy.”
And the articles that sometimes circle around the Internet about how being too happy is bad for you – if they were printed papers, I would burn them all in a giant bonfire. That’s how I feel about all this “you’re better off not being too happy” BS.
(Unfortunately, some unhappy researchers are looking to find proof of this concept, clearly misunderstanding that happiness and being in a good mood is not the same thing. Showing someone a cute cat video before testing their response in a study isn’t going to make them truly happy. That’s just being in a better mood. Unhappy people can be in a good mood sometimes. But that doesn’t make the research about how bad being too happy can be for you any more true than how bananas can make you feel blue. So think twice before believing that “being too happy is going to have negative effect on your life” “science”, aka anxiety mongering. But I digress.)
So in light of my recent discovery that even though I knew the theory, I was still feeling guilty about being happy while others are not, I amend my truths of what I know to be 100% correct about this world and this whole business of holding the key to your own happiness:
(And yes, I did well up when making a decaf coffee with my partner. Just because. Pure joy, happiness and this lightness of being from standing next to each other, talking, and being us.)
Now, let’s move this conversation to you. Do you have any other truths about happiness that you go by? Did any of those resonate with you?
Which one of these truths should you try to take on to increase your level of acceptable happiness? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.
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Wishing you a happy day,