What is a good life? A question asked by my Sociology professor. When you aspire to become a development practitioner, the ingredients of a good life go beyond: a hot cup of Café Mocha, a leopard printed cozy blanket, binge-watching Emily in Paris.
A good life is linked to uninterrupted electricity & water supply, better roads, increasing greenery, open-mindedness, and the list is endless. Immersing myself in understanding the numerous development issues around me has made me even more aware, of my privilege, agency, ability to access resources- basically a good life. It can be better, but honestly, IT IS GOOD! It all boils down to what makes you happy, what gives you a sense of satisfaction, content, comfort. Sadly, downs equally shape us, playing a prominent part in our lives. The days I find myself to be immensely joyous, are also the days the anxiety & overthinking of the future haunt me.
Recently, I read a post about my fear to be “too” happy, yeah its Cherophobia – a phobia where a person has an irrational aversion to being happy.” Sounds incredibly sad, right? I mean, the moments rendering you happy, too can be so perturbing. Some experts have classified this as a form of anxiety but hasn’t been included in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
The wrongdoings in the past, negative experiences associated with certain events/people, a strong Karma believer, or such similar reasons prevent you from making the most of your beautiful memories. It’s like you invite trouble by the “law of attraction”, at times ending up spoiling it all for yourself. You refuse to genuinely feel positive emotions in the anticipation of “screwing” it all. The obsession of “having it all under control”.
Turning into a strange desire to get over with it, you mentally prepare yourself for the worst completely ignoring the current wonderfulness in life! Ever felt much sadder about the picnic getting over than eagerly wait to explore a new place with all your friends? Happened at school, every time! When happiness becomes a routine, a shadow of doubt hovers, the fear starts rising, misery sticks its bloody hand out pulling you away from all that’s going great ☹ now you’re even sadder but more relieved learning that you survived!
SO, WHAT TO DO?
There are no short cuts when it comes to mental & emotional wellness, it is always a process- a great one, believe me!
Firstly, distinguish between toxic positivity and jotting daily affirmations for emotional well-being.
Secondly, gratitude journaling is a wonderful strategy to look at the positives, make it a regular habit. It compels you to root out the best in your day.
Third, try to live in the moment, rejoice every minute of the moments that make you smile, click many pictures so that you get to see them if you experience this fear again.
Lastly, seeking therapy (CBT) will be incredibly helpful. Nothing like seeking professional help to improve mental health.
Happiness is meant to be relished, sorrow is meant to be lived as well. Both teach you, and equally shape into who you are today. Don’t let anyone of the two consume you, a healthy mind is one that builds the strength to deal with all emotions/thoughts/experiences!