“Your Mom’s going to be in the hospital for awhile. She’s really sick. Be good and take care of your little brother.” Did my happiness cause that moment to happen? 7 year old me decided it did. It caused me to spend years fearing that being happy without being prepared for something bad to happen at any moment was dangerous. I call this the Happiness Conflict and chances are you are suffering from your own version of it.
The happiness conflict is a belief that being too happy or content for a steady period of time will cause something bad to happen. In other words, if things get too good or feel easy for a minute, you start fearing that something bad is going to happen, as if that state of happiness is dangerous. As if it’s calling something bad to you.
Think for a moment; have you ever felt really happy for a few minutes and then suddenly riddled with fear that something bad was going to happen? Have you ever dreamed of a big, exciting goal but feared that achieving it would come at some terrible cost?
Here are some real life examples from real life clients of mine. See if you can relate to any:
Believe it or not, the Happiness Conflict is almost always created in childhood, specifically between the ages of 6-8. Here’s what happens.
You have a moment where you feel very unsafe. Your ego kicks in and attempts it’s job: to keep you safe. It starts looking for ways out of this unsafe situation you are in. Up to this point this is pretty normal, every day ego functioning. Here’s where the problem comes in: when your ego can’t find a way to bring you to safety. In this situation it uses it’s back up plan. It creates a simple story for you. Sounds harmless right? Well in the moment it is. The harm occurs when you never change the story and the story becomes a belief.
Let me show you an example. Back to my story about my mom being in the hospital. My mom got really sick when I was a kid. She had severe toxemia caused by a negligent doctor. She was really ill, in fact they told my Dad she wasn’t going to make it. But my mom is about as stubborn as they come and she pulled through, so there’s a happy ending here! But she had to fight for her life really hard in the hospital for a few months.
I was 7 and my little brother was 3. We were suddenly ripped out of our world of having an incredibly involved stay at home mom to being shipped to people’s houses every day, trying to stay out of the way and not be a burden, missing our mother like crazy and fearing for her life all the time.
That’s a hard unsafe feeling for an ego to get you out of. Especially when your are only 7! I remember thinking: how could something like this just suddenly happen? How could I prevent it from ever happening again? Well my ego was drowning in these little kid big thoughts so it made me a story. It decided that it couldn’t just be random...bad things couldn’t just happen and you have no control over them. That’s too scary for a 7 year old (you know what it’s scary for a grown ass adult too).
That story gave me back some feelings of control. If I never got too happy and I was always ready for something bad to happen then I could be safe. See how it made it feel less desperate and out of control? But see how it also created the belief: Feeling happy and carefree is unsafe.
I spent years being worried and stressed and overly prepared for emergencies because that happy, carefree, enjoy the moment feeling scared the sh*t out of me. It made me feel like a scared 7 year old. It kicked me in to fear based thinking and got me trapped there. Causing me to avoid being too happy or carefree.
Most likely you created a similar story. Maybe it wasn’t quite as big of an event as mine or maybe it was bigger. Maybe you got scared watching a movie....the scale is not significant, the feeling of being stuck feeling unsafe is.
So think about feeling happy for a moment. Add in some words like bliss, carefree, content, blessed, etc. Does it trigger any fear? When you think about being happy for a consistent or long period of time does it trigger any fear? If yes, then you are dealing with the happiness conflict.
Here’s the good news. The idea that being in a positive emotional state can cause bad things to happen is not true. Bad things are going to happen to you. Life is full of struggles and no one gets a pass. But you can enjoy as many moments as possible. In fact, being in a positive emotional state attracts good things.
The bottom line is, avoiding happiness out of fear of bad things happening only hurts us. It’s robs us of having more bliss, more happiness, more joy. We are all going to struggle and have hard times. But if we can learn to really find and allow more joy, then we build better lives, we allow better versions of ourselves to shine. We can show up better for each other in those hard moments and cheer each other on better in the good ones.
To that scared 7 year old version of me and your own version of her: you are so much stronger than you realize. You got this.
Cheers to allowing happiness.
Love & Intuition,
P.S. If you want more help with this I’d love to support you! I created a FREE Happiness Conflict Starter Kit to help you start the process! You can check it out by clicking here.