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That Feeling When by Nikhil Taneja: Do we know how to be happy?


I just lately had a realisation that after years of struggling, I’m at a spot the place issues, at this present second in time, are okay. The truth is, they’re higher than okay. My private relationships really feel healthful, I’ve by no means loved work extra, I get rewards and awards for the years of arduous work I’ve put in getting right here. My life goes… fairly easily. I’ve been so pleasantly stunned that issues are going properly that it’s now become suspicion about what’s inevitably coming subsequent!

It’s like I’m continuously ready for the opposite shoe to drop. There’s bought to be a catch, my mind’s been telling me; doesn’t this really feel just like the calm earlier than the upcoming storm? When the going is sweet, why does it really feel like a set-up for the ‘powerful’ instances? These niggling questions, mixed with the frustration that I’m over pondering a lot once I ought to simply be having fun with the (very uncommon!) good instances, has been giving me extra nervousness than I’ve had in months!

‘You aren’t alone’

To course of my emotions, I did what I normally do once I really feel an excessive amount of: I expressed. On Instagram, clearly. I requested others in the event that they too discover happiness ‘incorrect’, and if we truly know the best way to be completely happy in any respect.

I wasn’t anticipating tons of of DMs to my submit by individuals who wrote in to say, ‘you aren’t alone’. I bought DMs saying issues like ‘I really feel responsible about resting and surprise why I’m having a superb time’ and ‘When good issues occur, a way of worry comes with it. I really feel snug solely in chaos and mess’. There are individuals who mentioned, ‘Anytime I get success, I really feel I don’t deserve it if I didn’t wrestle as a lot as my buddies’ and ’I really feel unhappy when one thing good occurs. It’s arduous for me to simply accept something good can occur’. One individual even wrote, ‘Typically, I find yourself sabotaging the sleek part due to the considered impending doom!’

Lots of people defined it because the ‘Indian mentality’ of ‘workaholism’ and chasing ‘capitalism’. That as Indians, we’re wired to by no means be happy with what our current is, and are all the time striving, struggling and hustling for extra, ‘even when we have no idea what we’re striving for precisely’. That the wrestle offers us one thing to look ahead to, particularly for individuals who wish to continuously be ‘higher variations of themselves’. That now we have now beginning liking being uncomfortable a lot, that this sense ‘offers our mind consolation!’

Patterns of negativity

Others referred to as it the curse of being ‘over thinkers and over feelers’. And plenty of gave me phrases to study extra about: ‘survivor mode’ and ‘trauma conditioning’ and the way we’re conditioned to chaos and we ‘romanticise ache and wrestle’ a lot that now we have now developed a ‘negativity bias’ the place, when issues are good, it’s arduous to simply accept it. One individual poignantly wrote, ‘What are we even chasing? Even once we are completely happy, we search for closure.’

Just a few folks despatched me the identical video by famous public speaker and creator Brene Brown, the place she referred to as this wrestle a ‘foreboding of pleasure’. She mentioned that ‘we try to decorate rehearse tragedy so we will beat vulnerability to punch.’ That ‘once we lose our tolerance for vulnerability’, we’re not in a position to ‘soften as much as pleasure’. It’s been bittersweet to study that it’s not simply me who responds surprisingly to what needs to be ‘happiness’. That these patterns are wired so deep inside us that we haven’t even begun unlearning them.

However it’s additionally been gratifying to learn that we’ve recognized the problem: that although it’s taken us all this time to be susceptible when in ache, we now additionally have to embrace vulnerability in instances of pleasure. We’ve got begun to be snug telling one another that it’s okay to be unhappy. Perhaps we now additionally want to inform ourselves that it’s okay to be completely happy.

Nikhil Taneja is a author, producer, storyteller, public speaker, feeler of emotions, males’s psychological well being advocate and co-founder of Yuvaa

That Feeling When is a fortnightly column that gives a relatable tackle psychological well being and emotional well-being.

From HT Brunch, September 24, 2022

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