Partial Weekend 23 Review: Witholding my own happiness

It’s a tricky business, counteracting the insidious negative thoughts that have taken residence in the depths of my psyche. In many cases, the hardest part is identifying them in the first place, for often I’m not even aware of the the negative beliefs that are underlying my emotions and motivations.

Today, I became aware of a negative idea that I hadn’t been conscious of: I don’t believe I’m allowed to be properly happy or to completely enjoy myself unless everything is perfect. I have long been aware that I feel often feel unable to enjoy my relaxation time because I feel guilty for not doing more productive things. Normally, productive things means study, and perhaps exercise and chores of the household or administrative variety. I think I’m so used to feeling guilty whenever I’m not doing something productive that I assumed my inability to really enjoy myself would go away when I no longer had anything that particularly needed doing.

Right now, it is the school holidays. This means that I am on holiday, I have no uni work to do and there have been so many public holidays over the Christmas-New Year period that I couldn’t even have done any banking or made any business-related calls. There are really no demands on my time to make me feel guilty for relaxing and enjoying myself. The delightful thing is that I generally haven’t been feeling guilty for reading, watching TV or doing nothing in particular – yet I still haven’t fully been able to enjoy myself.

I realised today that there’s a little part of me that believes that to feel properly happy is to somehow be irresponsible because I haven’t got my life sorted. If I had a steady income over the holidays (which I don’t, because I only get paid for the days I teach and I can’t teach when school is out!), if I knew what I was going to do with myself next year, if I felt as if I was moving forward, then I would be allowed to be happy. But, as I don’t even have an income for at least another month, I feel that to really allow myself to be happy, even for a short while, means I somehow don’t take these other things seriously.

Because I live with my Dad, I’m able to depend on him for a short while, and I think this dependency adds to my feeling of not being allowed to be happy. If I allowed myself to really feel happiness in something then I would be showing that I didn’t care about my finances and that I took things for granted. So, I do not allow myself to feel happy.

Of course, the other reason is that it’s been hard to feel that anything is truly right and perfect when I know that Mum isn’t around. But this is the year of sunshine and birdies singing. I know that many, many moments will still be tinged with sadness because she isn’t here, but I do know that I can’t be not happy forever. What if I live for another thirty, fifty or even seventy years? This year, I’m learning to carry Mum with me into my happiness instead. But these feelings about Mum also hid from me the negative belief that had been around for much, much longer.

There will always be things to do, things to improve in my life. It often looks to me as if other people have reached certain stages in their lives where they have achieved certain things (good, steady career, home of their own etc.) and can contentedly plateau for a while. The reality is probably very few people feel like that. Most people are probably like me, feeling that their life is still in the rehearsal stage and wondering when and how they’re going to make it to performance night when everything comes together. It’s ridiculous to close my heart to happy moments because I feel that I still have work to do on my life. It’s like all those trite cliches about enjoying the journey. I’m going to try not to hold myself back from happiness, from properly enjoying something, just because my life isn’t perfect and still needs work.

Now that I type it, it sounds really trite and cliched, too.

I’ve been really trying to make a conscious effort over the past few days to feel sunshiney and not weighed down. It’s one thing to focus on not being stressed, but it’s actually quite different to try to be happy. That is what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been making a conscious effort to let my heart be light and to infuse joy into the things I’m doing. Everyday things, but things like reading, or eating a delicious meal, that I should be able to enjoy and that should contribute to my happiness, if only temporarily. It’s only because I’ve been making such a conscious effort that I’ve noticed my own resistance to being happy. I can be a bit happy, but I always have to hold myself back from being completely, freely happy. I must always withold a little happiness from myself and remind myself of my responsibilities and unattained goals. As if such an obsessive overthinker as I would ever forget!

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About Zaiene

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life I am inspired by so many different ideals of how to live a happy, fulfilled and productive life but struggle to get around to it. Large scale changes are intimidating and difficult to sustain, so this is my bite-sized life experiment. Each week*, I will find one thing in my life to drop and one thing to add. I will try to drop things that have a negative, unhealthy or over-absorbing effect on my life. I will try to add things that will have a positive, healthy, empowering or useful effect on my life. The experiment is to see whether I can cope with these changes and whether they really do improve my life. *(I began it as each weekend, as a less intimidating challenge. After about ten months, I felt that I wanted whole-week - well, Monday-to-Friday - challenges.)
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6 Responses to Partial Weekend 23 Review: Witholding my own happiness

  1. Bill says:

    I cannot tell you how much I both like and relate to this. You are so much braver in your blogging than I am. I appreciate the very journal-like nature of your writing. I’ve tried to approach my blog with the same level of honesty, but always wind-up laying it out in attempted poetry, hiding the truth in the cryptic vagueness of smoke and mirrors. But when you just lay it out like this, open and honest, it really resonates with me, and I’m sure it does with others as well. And, to that, I say a simple “Thank You.” Good job.

    • Yeah! What Bill said.

      • Zaiene says:

        *beams*

        Random thought: I was just thinking, re-reading my reply to the previous comment, that I’m really making an effort not to have horrible run-on sentences in this blog. You should see how long and tangled my sentences get when I don’t proof read! 😉

    • Zaiene says:

      It really means a lot to have you say that! Although I love blogging and journalling and would keep doing it even if nobody commented (I have to get all of these thoughts that whirl round my head out somehow!), every little bit of positive feedback I get is like someone mending another of the million tiny chinks that have damaged my armour of self-esteem/self-belief over the years. Which doesn’t mean anybody HAS to comment, of course!! It’s just heartening when they do!

  2. Pingback: Weekend 23 review part two: We don’t want no blobbies hangin’ ’round here! | Drop One, Add One

  3. Pingback: Weekend 24: Drop Expectations/Add Happiness and Embracing Opportunities | Drop One, Add One

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