The Guilty Feeling of Being Happy

I can’t seem to shake this feeling. When I’m happy, it’s almost like I have to shut it down because it’s wrong. Or if I indulge, which is what my psychologist is telling me to do, I eventually get an overwhelming sense of guilt like I shouldn’t be so self-absorbed and self-focused. I don’t know why I won’t allow myself to just be happy and enjoy.

I think I have figured out a few things in the last month. My whole approach to life is work. When I am in a team, I struggle with people who use that time to also just have fun instead of doing their task. It’s not that I get mad. I am just not that kind of person, and it amazes me that others can be so playful even while working. For me, even in my play, I am working. I can’t “play” unless it is productive play. When I watch a favorite movie and feel moved to tears, I condemn myself for being foolish. I force myself to try and enjoy things that I think are good for me, and condemn myself for liking things that are not good for me. I go out with friends and focus completely on making the encounter a pleasant one, even if it means that I have to take the punch that gets me hurt, or have to keep my comments to myself.

I do think I’m getting better. But the truth is, I’m all work and no play. And that’s the seminal problem. My whole life is about work. And without play, there’s no break, no stress relief, no self care. And when something monumentally stressful happens, like the death of my Dad, the absence of any coping mechanism in my life to deal with the sadness meant that my whole being had to fall apart. Well, at least in falling completely apart, I get to see the pieces of my insides and see why it happened.

I am learning to have fun. I’m learning to be  happy. And I’m learning that it’s okay. If I spend an hour doing something that I love just because I love it, I shouldn’t be condemning myself that my co-workers at work are working hard while I’m at home. I’m in recovery dammit and I have to remember that. I can’t condemn myself for “wasting time” because I need to set a new standard for living. Take care of yourself. Enjoy being loved and don’t turn away kindness.

I would love to know who I am. With a lifetime of doing what I’m told to do. I now have to figure out what I “want” to do. Yes, I want to express, create, and share. And I want to do it with freedom and joy. That is my prayer. That is my homework — no, that’s my home”play”.

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