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Fear of happiness: the inner life of a (recovering) perfectionist

 

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Photo credit: suitesculturelles.wordpress.com

 

Hi! My name is Sid and I’m a perfectionist. There. I said it. I’m really trying hard not to be a perfectionist. But just like how some can slip from time to time, so, too, can this recovering perfectionist!

I want to be happy. I mean, who doesn’t? Happiness can feel nice and gives us the warm fuzzies. Most people, if given the choice between happiness or sorrow, would probably pick happiness. Happiness puts a jump to your step and can make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. It’s a great feeling to have.

However, for some people like me, happiness can sometimes be hard to enjoy. It’s almost as if I’m waiting for something bad to happen. I can’t enjoy the happiness thoroughly because at the back of my mind, I know that something horrible is probably going to happen to take away my happiness. I don’t like being paranoid but the rules of life dictates that the greater the happiness, the greater the sorrow that will come with it. You can’t have one without the other. And so I’m left always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It is no fun to live like that. I can never cherish my happiness because of what’s going on at the back of my head. “Don’t enjoy it too much! That way, it won’t hurt too much once it’s taken away from you. And it WILL be taken away from you!” Living life in that state of mind is horrible. It is an attitude that is life-draining rather than life-giving.

It has been very challenging for me to “live in the present” or to “live in the here and now.” To taste happiness in its fullness with no attempts to mitigate it with thoughts of future sorrow. In the process, I feel like I’m living a better life. A true life. A real life. Not a life full of “what if’s” and so concerned with the future, I accidentally forget to live the life I do have.

So I’m trying to be ok with happy. I’m trying not to run away from it. I’m trying to embrace it and hold it tightly against my chest, never wanting to let it go. I’m trying to let my body feel what happiness is and be enveloped in its cheerful embrace. I’m trying to give myself the permission to be happy. And in doing so, it has made me happy. It has made me smile. It has made me laugh. It has made me more thankful for such wonderful moments in time.

I have also realized that everything doesn’t have to be perfect before I can be happy. I have realized that sometimes, it is in the most desperate situations, that happiness rears its happy head. Perhaps, to remind me, and all of us, that you never know what is on the other side of the pit of despair. So, as the old song goes, don’t worry… be happy.

Have you ever been afraid of happiness?

 

 

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Day 3 – The Lenten Journey of Sid

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Today, I had the chance to celebrate one of my friends becoming a partner at his law firm. It was a great time to reconnect with old friends as we haven’t seen each other for a very long time. It’s great to see old friends in new roles as mothers and fathers. It still takes some getting used to. There were also lots of good pita chips and dips so I was very happy about that. As the night continued, the boys got together in one part of the room and just started chatting. Obviously, we had to talk about the BB 10 and how I think it’s absolutely amazing! I got a chance to play with it during the launch and it was a piece of heaven! The Hub and the Flow were fantastic. But what got me, really got me, was the typing. You could text like a fiend because of its intuitive nature. *swoon*

It’s hard not to look around the room and not be jealous of others’ accomplishments. The question of “what have I done with my life?” inevitably pops up. I have to remind myself that  singleness is not a sign of defeat. Not being financially wealthy is not a sign of defeat. Lack of prestige is not a sign of defeat. I had to remind myself of how blessed I was as I looked around the room and know that my friends are absolutely amazing! I am so privileged to know a fantastic group of people who inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me to be a better person. And I love hanging out with them coz they’re fun!

Join me on this journey.