On Fear and Happiness


I learned something about myself in the last few months — I am afraid of being happy.

I’ve known it for a while but I always thought it was just on a subconscious level. Like, “A part of me is scared to be happy.”

But it’s not just a little part that holds this fear, it’s all of me. Through and through. And it’s pissing me off. So I’m pulling back the curtain and saying it out loud today, because the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

I am afraid of being happy, and it is bullcrap. And if you are afraid of being happy, that is bullcrap too. (Hi, I know you’re out there, fellow people-who-hold-yourselves-back).

We have our reasons. Real ones! I could write pages and pages on how my trauma history conditioned me to fear good things. This post is already enough TMI though, so let’s look forward instead.

Guess what: what was learned can be unlearned. The Pavlovian theory works both ways. I’m going to teach my brain that happiness is safe. And deserved. And worthy.

So that’s where I’ve been since May, balled up in an anxious huddle on the couch, avoiding my blog because it makes me so friggin’ happy that it’s terrifying.

I can’t promise any immediate results as far as blogging is concerned. Consistency is too big a mountain, for now. But crafting and blogging about it makes me ferociously happy, and the only way out is through, so get ready for some DIYs!

Oh, and by the way, you can reteach your brain too. Take a deep breath, say it out loud, and take that first step.

Thanks for continuing to visit and read Idle Hands Awake in my absence, and for humoring these occasional blog-therapy moments. Connecting with this little community keeps me coming back for more. Here’s to our good mental health, chasing creativity, and learning to find joy.


Author: Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake

Maker, baker, cat momma, total nerd, perpetually covered in glitter/sawdust/paint. Blogging DIY and design for modern creatives.

12 comments on “On Fear and Happiness”

  1. You can do it ❤️ We can do it. You are doing it 🙂 There is a universal unworthiness and to be able to open ourselves truly to receiving what life has to offer is a gift and ultimate goal ⛳️

  2. I love you! Thank you for always being so open to talking about these things. I wish you mindblowing happiness. YOU DESERVE IT. I think a visit is in order soon!! xoxoxo

  3. I read your post on your chronic pain and have been thinking about the best way to reach out and let you know you are not alone (I get migraines and they SUCK).

    I’ve felt the same about happiness and what really turned my outlook around was telling myself I CHOOSE happiness. I feel better when I make lists and making it an active decision that I can work towards embracing helped reframe my perceptions. I’m so glad you find happiness in blogging and share your gifts with us 🙂 🙂

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry you get migraines too! They are really a curse. Thank you so much for this sweet comment. It’s funny you mention lists, I actually just made a list of intentions when I got back from Germany, little ways I can incorporate more mindful special moments into my daily life. I am choosing happiness! 😀 Thank you thank you for your support, wishing you much health and happiness too! xoxo

  4. I have a theory about this fear of happiness, because I have it, too. Here it is: If you consume any kind of narrative fiction, but especially movies and television, you’ve been conditioned to see someone feeling really happy as someone something bad is about to happen to. They’ll be a montage of someone’s happy life, and then tragedy strikes. Once you start looking for it, you’ll see it used everywhere for dramatic contrast. So it’s no wonder that we’ve absorbed the message that if we’re too happy, we’re courting disaster.

    When something terrible did happen to me totally out of the blue, I realized that bad things will happen to us all, regardless of whether we’re happy or not. There is no screenwriter or editor of your life except for you. Being as happy as you can when things are going well, and appreciating the good times, will help you get through the bad. It sounds like you’re putting in the work to get past this, and from the bottom of my heart, I wish you the best of luck.

    1. That is SUCH an interesting point! Fiction is made of conflict. I wonder how much this affects our own happiness. You are absolutely right, there is no editor of your life except for you. I love the way you phrased that. Thank you so much for your well-wishes! I hope for happiness for you too. xoxo

  5. So glad you’re back and dedicated to being okay. I’m a long-time lurker/first-time commenter but I’ve been following for a while and checking in despite the lull. It’s always okay to come back no matter how long you’ve been away/struggling! I want to say encouraging things but I’m not very good at it. But I’m glad you’re back and best of luck with your plans for yourself and the blog <3

    1. Thank you so so much for this sweet comment! It means a lot to know that there are people following along on my little blog. I’m glad you came out of the “lurker woodworks” to say so. 😉 Crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to blog more regularly, but I’m glad to know that the lulls aren’t driving people away! Thank you for reading! xoxo

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