Bite-size (#3) : Will things go wrong if I’m too happy?

Is there such a thing as being too happy? Will allowing ourselves to feel happy invite doom and make things go wrong? Read this to find out.

I’m around 11 years old when a girl in my bus looks at me as I’m laughing and warns me – don’t be too happy, or things will go wrong and you’ll have to cry just as much. I believe that this event dented my relationship with happiness for the longest time. Even today, remembering her words makes me cringe.

As children, we are so susceptible to believing things that are said and done to us. And there’s no knowing what the impact of what we hear or experience will be on us. Sometimes, these things stick with us for decades, until we work with some kind of therapist or coach to come to a resolution.

In particular, this idea that we could end up experiencing a lot of misery if we allowed ourselves to be fully happy, runs in our systems like the plague!

And it’s not just me, but I realize how common and widespread this way of thinking is. For me, it was that girl in the bus that set the foundation for not being too happy, lest things go wrong.

can things go wrong if you are too happy, picture with girl wearing sad face

It’s what the author, Glennon Doyle calls as the “Ache” in her book Untamed. She accurately describes it as a feeling that something will go wrong the moment something is going right.

Have you found yourself thinking this way too?

If yes, do you remember when this way of thinking first began for you?

Maybe it was a family member who was always worried you’d jinx happiness. Or maybe it was an idea that you subconsciously picked up from a movie. Whatever be the origin of this idea, if it’s been implanted in your mind, the conditioning may still be playing a role in your life today.

I personally became hyper-aware of this phenomenon the day I was reading through American professor, Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead.

She said in her book and I quote,

“Why do we insist on dress-rehearsing tragedy in moments of deep joy? When we feel joy, it is a place of incredible vulnerability – its beauty and fragility and deep gratitude and impermanence all wrapped up in one experience. When we can’t tolerate that level of vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding, and we immediately move to self-protection.”

Her words sat with me. Later that day, I was surprised to see how many times and in how many subtle ways this subconscious conditioning was at play, dimming my happiness:

  • As my husband and I drive down a beautiful highway and watch the sun dip back into the horizon, I have a flash in my mind’s eye of another vehicle hitting ours. This image was my ego-minds reminder to not let happiness catch me off guard. But this time, I pause and ask it in return, “what if nothing happens?”
  • A few hours later, again, as we were laughing and having a good time, my mind flashes images of danger. Once again, I see this and ask myself, “what if I give myself permission to actually enjoy this moment anyway, regardless of what happened next?”
In both events, when I confronted my mind, challenging its concerns for me, I heard crickets. Silence. The mind didn’t know what to do with this counter-questioning.

It also made me realize another important difference between intuition versus ego. When we do receive an intuitive hit for something that’s about to unfold, it’s in the moment and simply passes.

intuition is in the moment, aligned, connection, spiritual

But when it’s generated from our ego-mind, you can feel the heaviness landing in your body. You can feel yourself getting stuck in a loop. The thing that your mind thought would happen doesn’t, but you begin to nauseate over it.

All of this is the first significant step to inner freedom. We want to work to separate ourselves from mindlessly believing every thought that we think.

It leads me to seek the overarching framework looking over all this, and to a fundamental question.

Why are we even listening to these limiting thoughts at all?

The insights I’ve gathered through reflection and in studying the behavioural sciences is this. The ego-mind wants safety and protection, and listening to these thoughts is the ultimate protection we can offer ourselves. If we’re never vulnerable enough, we are never at true risk because we are always vigilant.

And when we’re always vigilant and our guard isn’t down, we can move into fight or flight much more rapidly. Or that’s what the mind thinks it’s doing for us.

However, there’s one challenge that conflicts with this innocent intention of the ego-mind. When we are so hyper-vigilant, we still step away from the present moment and into our heads, by buying into the ideas presented in these waking nightmares. We’re kind of like dysfunctional ninjas, if I put it in a lighter way.

ninja, hypervigilant, alert

So even if something were to happen, we wouldn’t be present to respond – we would have to come back from an already hyper-aroused state of mind. Or what Brene Brown termed as the “dress rehearsal of tragedy”.

Then, we should ask ourselves this.

Knowing that protection is a good thing but not always necessary, what role can we give to the ego-mind in our everyday life?

Let’s start by knowing that we have a choice. We don’t have to follow the advice that it offers; we can simply choose to listen and let it pass.

As an analogy, I want you to imagine different parts within you driving the car of life. So if two of the passengers are ego-mind and joy, we can consciously let the ego-mind sit in the co-pilot seat. And let joy buckle itself into the driver seat. In other words, we don’t have to get rid of these limiting ideas, but we don’t have to operate out of them anymore either.

Sure, the whole idea about being unapologetically happy can seem crazy. I’ve had a client challenge me at one point, as to why she should be happy if there’s nothing to be happy about.

But the truth is, it’s easier to be happy than it is to not. And I’d rather pick easy in this moment. Especially when I don’t know if the next moment will be easier or if it will become hard.
will something go wrong if you are too happy, joy, celebrate, dance

A few weeks before writing this article, I was passing the downtown streets in Vancouver and I couldn’t take my eyes off a drug addict that was dancing and grooving in an intoxicated state. The image and his unconditional joy in those moments stays strong with me.

I realized that there was nothing he needed in that moment – he was in a bliss state. Even though the drugs were what led him to that state, and I’m not advocating drug abuse, I do think it’s noteworthy that even someone living on the streets can dance, celebrating the moment without a care for what lies ahead. Then why can’t you and I?

Concluding Thoughts

The reason we fundamentally do everything is because we think it will bring us joy. And yet, we have all these guards set up which make us feel like we’re in more control if we can “see” happiness go out the door before it leaves. But maybe we should pause and reflect, because it feels like happiness never truly entered our door.

So, my final question now is – are you ready to give yourself permission to be truly happy without worrying that something will go wrong?

Ready to take your healing deeper? Let’s talk about it! You’re welcome to setup a complimentary 30-minutes call using this form, and learn how you can set your spiritual plans into action. Don’t see a time slot? Send me an email here instead and let’s chat.

Bite-Size (#2) : Are You Misusing Your Power?

Are you misusing your power and taking on an unfair role in life? What are the ways you can manage your personal power? Here are my two cents.

I consider myself an accidental spiritual writer because even though I’ve always loved writing, it never once occurred to me that one day it would be about spirituality. Today, as a part of my self-reflection, power play came up as a theme. And I was humbled to realize the ways in which I was misusing my power as a writer. See how this post lands for you in your life.

Feeling Powerful Can Make Us Feel Full Of Ourselves

There was a phase in college where I got involved with a food reviewing group. We’d get invited to restaurants to try out their food, in exchange for an honest review. There were a couple of incidents where the management and food was really subpar and I left a sour review.

review, critic, misusing power to hurt other people's reputation

Sometimes my parents would feel like I was going too far and that the reviews might bring personal attacks on me.

This memory flashed back as I was looking at my own fear of being criticized as a new author. The truth is, I have no idea how to write a book, let alone a book that matters. And the fear has engulfed me for several years to the point that I often find myself looking down at my books even though it took me a whole other level of courage to put them out there.

Today, as I decided to move beyond this inner critic, it humbled me to realize how the power I had as a consumer was getting to my head. I was, albeit unknowingly, misusing my power.

A big part of our healing requires us to practice self-forgiveness and know that there’s an innocent intention, no matter how malicious the action.
self forgiveness is important in healing

I tried not to judge myself for this incident. Here’s the thing.

I wasn’t trying to be malicious, at least not in my head.

To me, it was like wearing the “food critic” cape and I just wanted to do the role justice. I look back at it today and see the moments of immaturity that shimmer. But I also see that those events really were subpar and deserved to be highlighted. Maybe just not with the extremities that I deployed.

When I saw that even misusing power could have a childlike innocence, I also had flashbacks of the two people online who had said nasty things about me at some point in my work as a writer. I could finally see that they weren’t villains in my story. They were just wearing the “social media police” cap and wanted to do their role right.

For the first time in months, I didn’t feel hurt. I felt like I could understand where they were coming from – because I had once been there myself.

But who gives us this power?

Who is anyone to come up to us and say hurtful things? Why do they believe that they have that kind of right?

The person displaying that power, is the one that believes he or she has it.

Have you ever participated in Halloween and dressed up as a character? Have you really felt “in character” and that magically you were acting so much more differently than you usually do?

halloween, different roles can make us feel powerful, misusing power when wearing a mask

And then the mask and makeup comes off and you’re back to being yourself. What happened there?

The same thing that happens in daily life. We are all putting on different masks that temporarily make us feel powerful. But sometimes, when left unchecked, the very power that can give a person their biggest breakthrough in their career can also be the power that destroys another person’s reputation and life.

Concluding Thoughts

What masks do you wear? What roles are you playing in every day life? And when you wear them, how differently do you behave from who you believe you actually are? In other words – how can you be more of your true, centred self and still do everything you’re meant to do?

Think about it. And go deeper into thinking that even though you have all these roles and power, you might not always be using it for the greater good. If that’s true for you, imagine now, how difficult is must really be, to wear a superhero cape and not get carried away. 🙂

Honouring every real-life and reel-life superhero that has worked wonders with power. How I see it is that the only way we can have power over power, is when we are focused and have the bigger picture in our mind. The higher the vision, the more power we get to work towards it, and the less we try to use it for personal gain.

I’m ready to do bigger things for the spiritual community and use the power I have to be of deeper service. What about you?

Ready to take your healing deeper? Let’s talk about it! You’re welcome to setup a complimentary 30-minutes call using this form, and learn how you can set your spiritual plans into action. Don’t see a time slot? Send me an email here instead and let’s chat.

Photo credits: Inspired Stock Shop, Unsplash

Bite-Size (#1): Heaven & Hell Are A Construct Of Our Human Mind

New segment to share bite-size spiritual reflections with you all. Heaven & Hell are a construct of our human mind and here’s why.

It’s a Sunday evening, and I’ve just returned from an amazing day with my girlfriends. I’ve had my fair share of happy endorphins and vitamin D3, after playing badminton and sunbathing for hours. So I find it shocking as I lie in bed, to see my mind thinking of all kinds of outrageous thoughts about myself. This is a bite-size reflection of why heaven & hell are a construct of our human mind.

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life reading personal development books and more than half of it, exploring this spiritual path with unwavering determination and countless self-healing tools.

So it was deeply unsettling for me to discover how many mental ups and downs I’m still capable of having the moment something on the inside swerves left.

Thanks to the ego-mind, I often find myself relating more to spiritual teachers and seekers around me, than I do to the ‘unawake’ ones. Even though I know it’s one of those spiritual myths, from time to time, I buy into the idea that spiritual people are better-off.

So when I first moved to Vancouver, I had a tough time accepting the fact that drug abuse could make people so hollow. Downtown would always give me the creeps, because I felt like I was looking at a zombie apocalypse, with all the drug-abusers screaming and lying around so lifelessly.

surviving a zombie attack

As they crossed major intersections without care for traffic, I would gasp at how little life they had in them. It was like their soul was hanging far, far away, from an invisible thread that could snap at any moment.

So it’s natural to say, I couldn’t relate to any of that. No matter how hard I tried, I would flinch and look away, unable to face the misery and darkness that I walked around. I knew I was supposed to be compassionate for all of existence, but I never knew how to, here.

But Sunday night, as I watched my own mind make up all sorts of nonsense about myself, I got it.

For the first time, I felt closer to a drug-abuser cussing on Vancouver streets, than I did to my spiritual coach. And it shook me. Well, it shook my ego-mind.

You and I are both capable of digressing to the lowest of lows and rising to the highest of highs. Because the truth is, heaven and hell are just a construct of our human mind.

You are just as capable of feeling peaceful when reading something profound, as you are of feeling violently angry when you read some form of injustice. Life is constantly activating something in us, and unless we’re enlightened, there’s a long way to go before we can overcome these triggers for good.

So the pendulum within each of us continues to swing. Some relationships bring out our best, and some bring out our worst. But at the end of the day, both our good and bad are ours’.

Heaven & Hell are a construct of our human mind.

When you read books like Man’s Search For Meaning and No Good Men Among The Living, you realize that every human being is capable of going into a very dark space of mind, if circumstances get bad enough.

Neither you nor I are immunized from the darkness of our collective consciousness. Should that scare us? No. It should enlighten us.

The truth is, until we don’t see our own darkness, we have no way of discovering the intensity of our light. We can pretend we’re great until something bottles up long enough for the mud to pour out. Then why pretend?

And are darkness and hell even bad, to begin with?

If you think about it, whenever you have an epiphany, you stop doing the things that were sabotaging any aspect of your life. What changed? Something clicked for you in your mind, and your aperture widened. You could finally see that you had a choice, and you no longer had to sit in the mud.

Then even the darkest of minds must be the way they are, because they have no idea how to be better. They might conceptually hear ideas like manifestation and meditation, but they haven’t had the epiphany yet. They haven’t had the true chance to experience the path of light.

So where does this leave us at?

Perhaps, a little more compassion. Not just for others, but for ourselves.

That night, I didn’t have any for myself. Or for my dear husband as he tried to knock some sense into this shocking dialog. But when I finally came out of it, I not only had more appreciation for the ‘awakened ones’. I had discovered a whole other connection with the world I had been looking away from.

This of course isn’t an excuse or permission for you to indulge in your darkness. But a reminder to not avoid it, to not close your eyes from your own shadow.

We’re all a work in progress, and sometimes that progress can make us think we’ve regressed to square one. But in actuality, everything going on in your mind, is a reflection of the state you’re in – heaven or hell. And the best thing is, when you realize you have a choice, you get to choose which state of mind you live in. 🙂

Want to chew some more on this reflection? Here’s another story, speaking to the same theme.

Ready to take your healing deeper? Let’s talk about it! You’re welcome to setup a complimentary 30-minutes call using this form, and learn how you can set your spiritual plans into action. Don’t see a time slot? Send me an email here instead and let’s chat.

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