People (and by “people” I mean my therapists over the years) wonder where I get this keen sense of self-deprecation. I’d like to say it was something I was born with so that no one can be blamed or lauded for its development. But I can’t.
I can never just be happy about something. I always have to be happy and then run through the downsides.
“Yes I passed the bar exam, but now I have to pay bar dues.”
“Of course it’s great to get engaged, but how will we pay for a wedding?”
“Winning a scholarship is great, but it doesn’t cover all of school.”
You may (and probably should) ask, “where does one get such a great sense of self?” How do you ground yourself when the excitement overcomes you?
I have millions of examples how I can’t let a triumph be a triumph for too long (gets your head too big). But tonight I was reminded, yet again, how this lovely little thing in myself developed. See the Mister and I decided it’s time to get a house and we found one we both love. (He calls it a Mr. Belvedere house–another story for another day.) I tell my parents and although I know they’re happy, I get little excitement and much rational questioning.
“How many square feet? Really? That’s not that big. Our house is bigger.”
“Make sure you go through and write down what appliances are there–they might switch them out on you before the inspection.”
“I thought that one had a small yard.” (Which is false–the yard is huge.)
All my life I thought that I was fearful of being happy because I fear contentment, but I realize now that it’s a groundless fear–I’ll never truly be content. There has not been one point in my life where I’ve felt elation that hasn’t been followed by no-nonsense questions about the consequences.
I could be totally upset by this. In fact, some might be crushed. But I have come to learn that this has grown from a mere fascination of what could be to a survival mechanism. I can shrug off a second-place finish like a pro. I know when to savor it and I know when to check the temperature.
Tonight I’m savoring the fact that the phone hasn’t rung back yet. I told you it’s a survival mechanism.
I’d like to think it keeps me grounded. Well, at least that’s my rational explanation for it.