Upper Limits of Happiness
We all have what is called our Upper Limits of Happiness. (To learn more I highly recommend the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks). When we go beyond our Upper Limits of Happiness we will do something to knock ourselves back down again to our comfort levels of joy. This might be eating something we know does not resonate with our system, overeating, picking a fight with a loved one, overspending. Our impulses for "self sabotage" actually have a lot of wisdom to offer us. Think about the last time you engaged in a habit you know does not actually serve you long term. Now think about what you were feeling or what had occurred that day right before you engaged in that pattern. Perhaps you had a lovely morning or an overwhelming feeling of love for someone in your life or gratitude for the work you are doing in the world.
The love or joy or contentment we experience can feel just as overwhelming to our body as grief or sadness or despair. The more pauses we take between reaction and action, the more we can notice when the feeling of joy or happiness is feeling overwhelming to our system. In acknowledging the overwhelm we can can actively increase our capacity to contain joy in our body as we ride the wave and ebb and flow with whatever emotions are present. The power of getting comfortable with discomfort can support us in almost every area of our life to increase our trust within ourselves that no matter what comes our way, we will thrive.
Those Upper Limits of Happiness can be created at a young age for what we experience with our friends, with our family, with our teachers. For so many, keeping their sense of joy low can feel like a protective mechanism so that the same disappointment, grief, and sadness they might have experienced in childhood won't affect them in the same way in adulthood. Having been one of those individuals in the past, I can say from personal experience, keeping my experience of joy low only diminished my ability to actually feel alive, feel connected, and take risks no matter the outcome.
So the next time you feel an immense amount of joy, happiness, and contentment in your life, if you notice that your next impulse is wanting to engage in a self sabotaging pattern, allow yourself to sit with the urge to diminish your sense of joy and do whatever you need to do in that moment to move that discomfort through you. Cry, dance, breath, meditate, sing, whatever would support you in allowing yourself to heal from the wounds that diminished your joy in the past and step into experiencing a new sense of happiness in your body in the present.