Do You Fear Happiness?By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 08, 2014
Do you fear feeling happy because of the pain that might follow?
I'm certain that if someone asked you if you want to be happy, you would say "Yes, of course!" Yet research indicates that many people have a fear of happiness. Anna North, in an article entitled "Beware of Joy", states that, "Fear of happiness is that creeping feeling that you shouldn’t get too comfortable, because something bad is bound to happen."
I wouldn't call this a fear of happiness. I would call it a fear of pain. It's not the happiness that people want to avoid, but the pain that they fear will follow it.
The article goes on to state that, "At Scientific American, Tori Rodriguez looks at the downsides of fear of happiness:
"'Past research supports the idea that an aversion to positive emotions often coexists with mental disorders. Patients with major depressive disorder, for example, have been found to fear and suppress both negative and positive emotions more than healthy people do.'"
This is because pain and joy exist in the same place in the heart. We cannot suppress pain without also putting a lid on joy. As the above research shows, depression can result from suppressing all feelings, both the positive ones and the negative ones.
The reason people suppress their pain is because they never learned how to lovingly manage it. They are so afraid of their pain that they suppress all their feelings, which leads to depression.
I have worked with thousands of people who came out of years of depression after learning how to compassionately embrace all their feelings with an intent to learn about what their feelings are telling them, and then taking loving action in their own behalf. Inner Bonding is an amazing process for healing the depression that results from the suppression of feelings. (There are many causes of depression – the suppression of feelings is just one of them).
Life will always have its ups and downs. We can feel very happy for an hour or a day and then something painful occurs and the happiness is gone. But when you practice Inner Bonding and immediately attend to the pain – whether it's from a painful event, a person being unloving, or from your own wounded self judging you or abandoning you in other ways – you can get back to happiness in a relatively short time. Of course, when a big loss happens, it takes longer to move through the grief, but the time is way shorter when you have learned to be very kind and compassionate with yourself than when you attempt to suppress your feelings and try to be 'strong.'
I would much rather accept the highs and lows of life than live in the flatness of depression. There is no doubt that the pain of life is very painful, but when you put a lid on your feelings to avoid the pain, you miss the joy, the love and the passion of life. What's the point of being here if we can't feel the joy of life?
When you learn how to open to Spirit and bring in the comfort, love and compassion that is always available to all of us, then you no longer fear the pain of life. You know you can manage it when you know how to access compassion and comfort, and also how to reach out to others for comfort when the pain is too great.
When you consistently practice Inner Bonding and learn to connect with your spiritual guidance and learn to take loving care of yourself, you will find that you no longer fear the pain of life, and therefore no longer fear happiness – or the loss of happiness when life happens.
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Since we cannot know what the next moment will bring, why not be fully in this moment? When we spend our energy in the past and future, we miss the fullness of the now. Today, focus on your present inner experience.
By Dr. Margaret Paul