Can We Stop Ourselves from Being Happy?

While some people are always looking for ways to be happy, others deny it to themselves on a daily basis. What brings certain people to believe that they should never be happy? Is it possible that we don’t know where to look for happiness? And how can we accept happiness in our lives in a healthy manner? These are the questions that we will attempt to answer in this article.

Forbidding ourselves to be happy: a habit that is much more common than we think

In a time when it seems like everyone is searching for happiness, it’s hard to imagine that some people actually forbid themselves from being happy. Even though this idea seems to go against our nature, it is much more common than one might realize. Often, this practice of refusing happiness is such a deep-rooted mechanism that those who experience it are unaware of it. So then, we can wonder, what can push someone to forbid themselves from being happy? Following are three scenarios frequently seen in people who have hard time being happy:

Thinking they don’t deserve happiness

Some people are certain that they don’t deserve to be happy. This type of belief can come from different situations: a lack of love and affection in childhood, a feeling of not coming from the right social background or a heavy feeling of guilt that comes from a specific event… No matter why someone believes this, the results are really similar: Often these people act in a way that confirms that they don’t deserve happiness. Subconsciously, they look for situations that prove that they correct in their belief, such as choosing impossible romantic relationships or jobs that are not a good fit. They find themselves stuck in a cycle that they subconsciously created and that keeps confirming that they don’t deserve happiness.

Choosing to bring attention to oneself rather than to be happy

People with an extremely low level of self-confidence usually fit this mold. It makes them act in such a way that forces others to consider and notice them – both positively and negatively – rather than for their own good. They can do that in different ways: some people will complain about their problems to whoever wants to listen, others will make everyone laugh even while in a depressive state…However they choose to bring attention to themselves, they give themselves a role that makes them feel seen even if it is to the detriment of their own happiness.

Choosing “normality” rather than happiness

This way of behaving is very common and a reality for a high number of people. Because we live in a society where people observe and compare each other, it can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact that we may have tastes or wants that are “different’ or “out of the ordinary” from others’. We often decide to follow trends and imitate others rather than to assume our unique personality, even when it leaves us unhappy. This technique of auto-inclusion can start at an early age. In school, for example, children will pretend to like the same cartoons or games as their peers even when it is not the case.

In adults, this harmful behavior can take many forms. It can lead us, for example, to follow a career path that we are not really interested in, to spend time with people we don’t really have anything in common with, or to reject our sexual preference. These behaviors can, once again, lead people to feel unhappy, or even depressed.

So, how can we better welcome happiness?

Thankfully, ending these harmful patterns  and finally welcoming happiness in our lives is absolutely possible. Of course, the first step is to be conscious of the root of these mechanisms. Do they come from our childhood? It is possible that we may have been brought up in an environment that was excessively strict, tense or devoid of love. A painful childhood can lead people to believe that happiness is unattainable. Do they come from the social environment we live in? Sometimes, it is the context in which we operate that has very limiting and negative beliefs, such as, “You have to work until you suffer, if necessary, to build your happiness”. Being aware of these mental constructs is the only way to really get rid of them.

One of the most paradoxical keys to true happiness is the acceptance of suffering. We would love to only feel positive emotions, but it is not the reality of our existence. In trying to run away from difficult emotions, we also run away from positive emotions because we ignore a big part of ourselves that is essential to who we are. Our real capacity to be happy, therefore, depends on our ability to accept and welcome the whole range of our emotions.

Finally, it is important to understand that happiness is a choice. It is not a consequence of external factors, such as our social sphere or the sum of the events that pave our way. Believing such things can make us stay unhappy since it implies that we don’t have a choice whether to find happiness or not. Yet, the only true source of happiness comes from within and can only be nurtured by us. It’s by taking responsibility for our own happiness that we can give it a place in our lives. 

In conclusion, to be happy, don’t hesitate to make decisions that suit you, become aware of your limiting beliefs so you can get rid of them and make the conscious decision to lead a happy life! And remember: by being yourself, you give others around you the amazing gift of allowing them to do the same.  Before leaving, tell us in the comments: what do you think you can do to give more room for happiness to grow in your life?

Translator: Stella Debiaggi

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