Blog Post #531 Don’t hit your upper limit

My happiness is bounded!!

The author of this linked article talks of a day when she was just so happy.  It had been a great day. But, then she allowed the bubble of happiness to deflate.

In the article she comments:

“Suddenly, it dawned on me: I manufactured the stream of painful images because I was feeling good! Some part of me was afraid of enjoying positive energy for an extended period of time. When I reached the Upper Limit of how much positive feeling I could handle, I created a series of unpleasant thoughts to deflate myself. The thoughts I manufactured were guaranteed to make me return to a state I was more familiar with: not feeling so good.”

The author suggests we (all) have set limits on how much happiness we can handle.  If that is really the case, we are putting leg irons on us to slow us down.

The author goes on to name four barriers in our brains:

-1 We feel flawed.  Within our comfort zone, we are safe and stay small.  When we get to new heights in our lives (like being super happy), our brains (ego?) try to quell that happiness.   Another story the author tells of a man you was offered a great position, pay of 3 million and a two-year contract.  He blew it by thinking “I’m not worth 3 million dollars”. That limit in his brain kept him from this great job.

-2 Guilt, and disloyalty.   Some religious sects preach limiting our happiness and limiting our success.  Maybe it is an unspoken comment like “Look at your brothers and sisters. They are struggling and then look at yourself.  Why aren’t you sharing with them? You are guilty to your family and friends to be so overtly happy!

-3 The more successful (or happy) you are, you become a bigger burden on to others.  “Why should you be happy when your mother is in an Alzheimer’s wind in a senior health center?”

-4 The “Crime” of outshining.  I have seen this in my students (especially females) over the years.  They are great students and have a lot going for them, but, they don’t want to outshine others.  They want to lay low in the bushes, not rise to the top. They think they are not worthy of recognition.

The author wrote this: “For his birthday one year, his parents gave him a grand piano. He was seized with joy and gratitude. He hugged his parents and, with tears streaming down his face, sat down at the keyboard. As his fingers were about to touch the keys for the first time, his mother said, “We would never have been able to afford this if your sister hadn’t died.” Instantly, his joy became suffused with guilt and grief. A pattern was set in motion that would play out for the next 40 years.”

“Fortunately, Joseph was able to break free. He realized that the crime for which he’d been convicted — being alive and thus outshining his sister for all time — was a crime that existed only in his parents’ imagination. “

We sometimes say somebody is putting a guilt trip on us.  But, we don’t have to take it. Yes, you may have failed in something – but get up and go!!

My wife might give me a list of things to do while she is out.  When she gets home, she will

check to see if I accomplished them all, and if not, she ‘lovingly’ puts a guilt trip on me.

The author concluded with some negatives.  We tend to worry too much, and worry keeps us from reaching our limits and goals.  Likewise, we might have blame and criticism. I wasn’t my fault I didn’t get the promotion, it was that management likes <person-a> better than me.  


Do keep positive, don’t let that fear of failure come into our brain; keep guilt away (others have suggested that walking on exercising can introduce endorphins into your body and mind – that can chase away those fears and guilt.  Don’t be envious of what others have. Keep a good attitude in your mind.

And, don’t let limits keep you away from YOUR SUCCESS!!!




Posted by Bruce White

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