Have you ever had something amazing happen and then immediately start to worry that the joy won’t last?
If so, I get it.
I got a big dose of it recently.
Last weekend, Matthew (my partner for the last 5 years) and I merged our “nests”. He gave up his place and moved into my home. If you have been keeping up with me over the last year, you may recall that he had moved in “temporarily” during COVID.
The temporary arrangement went really well, so it seemed natural and appropriate to make this permanent. I knew I was ready when the thought of him moving back to his place made me sad. And who doesn’t love a man who washes the dishes and lights candles in the bedroom each night?
The “merger” has gone smoothly too. Choosing what possessions to keep and what to give away or sell has been easier than we expected. Well, ok, I admit – the garage is packed with lots of stuff I’m not sure what to do with! However, many of our individual belongings seem to belong together.
But the day after he brought the last piece of furniture from his house to mine, I felt a shift. I woke up in the middle of the night, my mind racing with anxiety. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong in our relationship. I started focusing on what I judge to be his shortcomings and blowing them out of proportion.
Preparing for the other shoe to drop.
Why am I worrying like this? I asked myself. I’ve been in this beautiful state of bliss, appreciating the fact that COVID brought me a gift by opening me up to let someone in, and now I’m focusing on the darkness.
One of the things I teach in From Journey To Legacy is that we can often trace our irrational thoughts to an earlier story in our life. As I explored the source of my fear, suddenly, I was back in high school. It was my senior year, and I was blessed with a string of good things coming my way. And then I heard the sound of my mother’s voice when I told her about another honor I received… “This can’t last.” she said, “Something is going to go wrong.”
OMG! That is where this stems from!
In her book Daring Greatly, researcher and best-seller author, Brené Brown, calls this “foreboding joy.” She says when we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes forbidden. It’s a way to protect ourselves if things don’t work out.
There I was, lying awake in the middle of the night and starting to anticipate the worst. I was letting myself be vulnerable again, and it scared me. I learned this by example, yes, but also from experience because the more I focus on what I fear the more likely it is to happen. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I worry something is going to go wrong and when it goes wrong, I say to myself, “see, just like you thought!”
Can you relate?
Do you set yourself up for failure at times?
Are you holding onto disempowering beliefs and habits you learned at a young age?
Do you have an automatic fear response without questioning if it is relevant now?
Are you able to catch yourself when you’re falling down that rabbit hole?
Fortunately, I caught myself and brought my focus back to what is good and right in my world at this very moment. I said goodbye to the habit of foreboding joy (Killjoy Be Gone!) I said hello and I am grateful for this next chapter in my life.
And then I wrote about that sweet, blessed time in high school and let myself appreciate it from a whole new perspective.
So how about you? Is there a story in your past that is ready to be rewritten? By doing so, you may free yourself from some disempowering beliefs that steal your joy.
If so, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below.