If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught my IG stories or posts about this book I’m reading called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It’s about how FALSE stories we have constructed, or were constructed for us, in childhood limit us from realizing our full potential in many aspects of life.
And for many of us, maintaining/pursuing/enjoying happiness is an area that is constantly undermined by limiting beliefs. Somewhere inside of you, perhaps barely noticeable under the rest of everything, you are likely holding onto a false story about the amount of happiness you are “allowed” to experience. And when you go beyond that allowed point, you unconsciously pick a fight with your partner, get sick, worry about something out of your control, all in the name of returning to “normal” levels.
Maybe you constructed a false story in childhood that you didn’t deserve to be happy. So when you start to feel happy, really truly, undeniably happy, you start deflect that positive energy. You push that happiness away with worry, anxiety, doubt, even fear because, under the surface, you don’t think you DESERVE this happiness. True Story: You are an amazing human being who deserves, and can receive, unlimited happiness.
Maybe a long time ago, someone told you, or subtly indicated to you, that you should never outshine others. And feeling happiness triggers this false story. You believe that your happiness is bringing others down, and you don’t want that. True Story: Your happiness raises other people up. Makes them feel good. Your happiness is warming and kind and generous and giving.
Maybe you carry a false belief that good things bring big burdens. So it would follow that happiness is just a sign that a bigger bad is to come. So you shut the happiness out before you can fully feel it, lest the big bad around the corner senses your happy feels and comes for you. True Story: Crappy things happen sometimes but not because you let positive energy in, or basked in the glow of happiness. Allowing yourself to feel happiness generates more happiness in yourself and others. And in fact, happiness makes you stronger and more equipped to handle stressors. Happiness is strength for your immune system, mental well-being, physical well-being, and interpersonal relationships. Happiness brings big bounties.
But instead of feeling fully happy we worry, we look for things to criticize in ourselves and others, we deflect happiness and positive energy, or we find ourselves getting sick or hurt right after something amazingly good happens.
This happened to me after I doubled my all-time high sales month in my handmade business last year. In July of all months, known in retail as the “summer slump,” I more than doubled my previous highest sales month which had been during the holiday shopping season. I was totally ecstatic, blown away! And then I had sinking feeling of dread for no reason, followed by a debilitating migraine. It was the worst migraine I’ve ever had. For two days I couldn’t get out of bed, talk, eat. I had hit my self-imposed ceiling. Yet I had no problem fulfilling orders on time and nothing about the increase of sales was unmanageable. Nevertheless, my body was shaken to the core. Perhaps it was a freak migraine with bad timing. I can totally hold space for that. But perhaps it was my body reacting to this sudden surge past my limiting beliefs and false stories about finances, my worth, and what I’m deserving of.
I have limiting beliefs about pretty big things in life — finances, my potential. And even though I’m still wrapping my mind around the idea of UNLIMITED happiness, I do allow myself to feel huge amount of happiness, before going into guilt and anxiety, but it wasn’t always that way.
When I was first married to my husband, I found myself waiting for things to get “REAL,” to confirm my belief of what my relationship had to look like. The story that was crafted in my childhood was that personal relationships had love, but were also tense, argumentative, fraught, upsetting, and dramatic. And the longer my marriage didn’t look like that (despite my attempts to make things argumentative, angry, tense — shout out to my unflappable and calm husband — thank you!), the more confident I became that relationships could be loving without the tension and anger and squabbling. That felt good and eventually turned into my TRUE story.
And that’s what it takes to turn off these limiting beliefs. A new TRUE story. Like the ones I wrote in italics above. You can start by re-writing the false stories in your life that are holding you back. Create the story you want about happiness; the story with the best outcome. Make that your new true story about the abundance of happiness. Write it in your journal, reconstruct it in your mind, or act out that NEW TRUE STORY daily, for years even, until you believe it.
What NEW and TRUE story can you write to help you receive more happiness in your life?