Why can’t I let myself be happy?

Sometimes good or even fantastic things happen to us. We get a raise, a new job, or ultimately our business is doing well, we have a stable and healthy relationship or things in our life are finally “integrated”. and yet we feel that “something is wrong”.

It is as if when everything seems to be going in order, a void, a fear, an anxiety grows in us. Why is this happening? Isn’t that crazy ?!

Why are some people unable to experience happiness?

To understand this problem that affects so many people, let’s look at a specific example.

Miquel, from success to failure in a short time

Miguel is a sales person and is doing quite well. He worked hard and strove to sell more and serve his customers in an extraordinary way. One fine day, at the annual gala dinner, his boss decides to name him Seller of the Year, with a new location and a great bonus. He had never reached such height in his career.

Miguel felt totally happy and grateful for the recognition, but reacted negatively shortly thereafter. He started to arrive late for work, started having migraines and back pain for no apparent reason. He decided to delegate the tasks he did best to his subordinates and neglect his clients. Their performance was down and their grades weren’t as positive as before. His head noticed the change and let him see it. Miguel felt that he had strongly criticized and resented him. He was soon carried away by a downward spiral of poor performance, frustration and self-criticism. He began to doubt his abilities as a salesperson and wondered if he deserved his place. Having achieved what he so desperately wanted, it seemed like he was sabotaging himself with every step. Why couldn’t he just accept the place and feel satisfied?

When the good news isn’t so good …

In reality, this behavior has a psychological explanation. We all form a concept of who we are, but for many reasons (experiences, parenthood, defenses) we have areas in which we rate ourselves negatively. Instead of changing this negative concept of ourselves, we subconsciously adapt to it and create a certain balance around it, like a thermostat that always regulates at the same temperature. It’s our personal ecosystem.

When we receive a lot of love, recognition, and admiration that contradict our psychological and emotional balance, we feel anxious because all of this challenges the negative concept of ourselves. Anxiety or fear of “not giving up” or feeling out of place becomes hostility to manipulating circumstances or alienating others, To distance oneself from this “rise in temperature”, that is to say from love, admiration or recognition.

A defense mechanism that can sabotage our joy

This is called pseudo-aggression. Pseudo-aggression is a type of anger that is used to provoke rejection and create distance in others to restore psychological balance..

Unusually positive experiences sometimes trigger deep sadness and other painful emotions which in turn trigger anger and hostility. I suspect the legend that people who win the lottery tend to be more upset than before has to do with the same thing.

Returning to Miguel and his difficulties

A very insightful good friend of Miguel’s warned him that all this whirlwind of frustration, poor performance, and resentment against his boss seemed to come from promotion and the good earned a few months earlier.

This thought made sense to Miguel: since winning the award he felt that there was something about him that he didn’t deserve, he feared that all the admiration in his head would go away if his performance was coming down and uncomfortable with the new source of attention and praise. However, understanding the source of his negative reaction gradually caused him to reverse his path to professional failure. He began to realize that the boss was not against him, that the clients were the same, and that he had inadvertently neglected his job. He began to grow and adapt to his new concept and “ecosystem” instead of shrinking to be sent into the world he was conditioned to..

Share with us: Has a good change in your life caused an imbalance in your “ecosystem”? How did you feel and what did you do to adjust?

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