The good things 

My family always honored hard work and resilience. They’re all about gritting your teeth and baring the hard stuff.

I can do that relatively well (to a point). I can put up with anything, keeping my anger and exasperation in check. As I have worked on controlling my anxiety, even things like being late, which used to make me go crazy, are manageable now.

I think the trouble is that I can handle bad things, but not good things. Maybe that’s why I still feel empty when my life is so full. I’m lucky, and privelidged, and I should be happier about that. 

Maybe it’s the good old Catholic guilt of yesteryear nagging me. The kind that told me to always keep my luck in the front of my mind, to always feel bad that someone out there had it worse than me. That’s why we licked our plates clean at dinner, right? Because of those starving kids out there who would love to have those beets?

I do that well, too. I’m great at downplaying my successes, at smiling quietly, at keeping things off Facebook. 

Maybe I need to spend some time bein happy instead of instantly repressing it. I should take the simply joys and relish them instead of hiding them. 

Or, should I? I always worry about making people feel jealous, or making them think I’m bragging. Nothing is worse, in my family, than a braggart.

I don’t know. When is it okay to feel happy? When is it okay to show happiness? When can guilt stop infiltrating joy?

I guess, always, if I let it. 

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4 thoughts on “The good things 

  1. I was raised the same way, although the Catholic guilt was an indirect, unspoken hand-me-down from my dad’s side of the family. I try to ward it off with snuggly kittens and by keeping a gratitude journal of the (often silly and little) things that make me happy throughout the day, often things that don’t really matter one way or another to other people like “I’m grateful for caffeine because I was a zombie until I made myself some tea.” It helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Life gives you the gifts in your life because you have done good for other people. You can’t help everyone in this world, or feel sorry for everyone.Help as you see, but be happy for what gifts of happiness and success come to you. If you feel happy, you will impart it to other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the trouble is that I can handle bad things, but not good things.

    I feel this way too. I’ve always been taught to be humble and to be very critical of myself so that I can fix my flaws before others point it out. This is so deeply embedded in my brain that I am never satisfied with anything. I can get a perfect score on my essays and research papers, but I will still find the paper not worthy of that grade and re-read it to find parts that I KNOW was weak. I can take criticism but I SUCK at taking compliments. I literally BLUSH and I don’t know what to say or how to react. But throw me down the stairs and list from A-Z where I went wrong, I’m good.

    If something “good” happens, I always expect something “bad” to follow. It’s too GOOD to be true and there must be a fine print warning that I’m missing. Of course, once I start thinking about the possible “bads” that can happen, I set up a trap for myself, inviting negativity to consume me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Be happy, for yourself. Then share that joy with the world 😊 spreading the love

    Liked by 2 people

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