Worrying about joy

It’s interesting to me to note how the fact that I have been feeling so joyful lately is actually causing me a little anxiety. I’m noticing two different ways this manifests itself and each one is tied to an underlying belief.

The first thing I’ve noticed myself doing is making sure I accompany any talk about how good life is with a disclaimer to point out that I still have genuine worries, troubles, and other challenges in my life. I do this because deep down I believe that people will not only dislike me if my life appears to be going too well but also because I believe that people will dismiss me if I don’t appear to have problems. Both beliefs stem out of historical precedent, but I think those beliefs are not particularly useful to me anymore. If the people who matter to me are going to treat me badly or withdraw from me because my life is going well, then I clearly need to cultivate new relationships in my life.

The second thing I’ve noticed myself doing is worrying that if things are going too well then I must be in for a big fall. So I find myself already bracing for impact and anxiously scanning the horizon for signs of impending doom. I clearly believe that the universe (or God) also punishes those who are happy. I think this belief probably stems from my childhood teaching, but I’m not finding this belief to be terribly useful either.

All your worry
Has proved such an
Find a better

I think being in the present is a much better job than worrying about an unknown future has ever been.

I’m trying to let go of the fears and worries and just relax into enjoying the present. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to diminish present joy just because there’s a chance that there will be harder times in the future. I’ll deal with those when they come; there’s nothing I can do about them now.

So every time I catch that anxiety reappearing in the pit of my belly, I take a deep breath and let it go and remind myself that this is now. And in this moment, life is good.

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