Do You Have a Hard Time When Good Things Happen For You?

Sometimes even pleasant emotions are hard to deal with...

I’ll admit it: I have a hard time dealing with it when good things happen for me. I think it taps into old issues of low self-worth and into my tendencies toward perfectionism. And in the past year, a lot of good things have happened! Recently I’ve been a little emotional about it all.

I was talking about all of this with my therapist last week and we were sort of chuckling about how this is something she’s seen me go through for years: When things start going really well, I can get scared/moody/anxious/even depressed. But there’s a key difference now, she told me. In the past, whenever I would come to the brink of a big success, I would feel these feelings of unworthiness and fear and subconsciously do whatever it took to either keep myself from moving any further forward, or to sabotage myself and take myself down a peg. That means bingeing, reverting back to old habits of being late, procrastinating and any number of other self-destructive behaviors.

This time, things are different. I’m still feeling that anxiety, and that sense of “Am I really worthy of all of these good things that are happening?” but I’m not recoiling, not self-sabotaging, not bingeing. I’m moving forward, step by step to heal even more, create the life I want and make my dreams happen (This web site is one of them—and getting to talk to all of you!) It’s been hard work getting here, but it’s all been worth it.

What I’m really left with right now is a sense of awe and gratitude for life and for people. My trust in the Universe and the transcendent goodness that can be present in people is confirmed and grows every time I read a comment in which you guys are reaching out and supporting each other, every time I get an email from one of you in my inbox, every time I hear from one of you that you’ve taken another step in your recovery or had a little victory.

Emotions—even happy, loving and healing ones like those I’m feeling now—are hard for we binge-eaters, emotional eaters or addictive types to deal with sometimes. That’s why we turned to food in the first place. But I’d like to invite every one of your to open your heart and allow yourself to feel a little awe and gratitude today, whether it’s for a pink blossom on a cherry tree, a fuzzy caterpiller on the sidewalk, a delicious latte (like the one I’m sipping right now!), a friend, a mentor, anything.

Let’s really try to feel these good feelings today. And, please, share yours!


10 Responses to Do You Have a Hard Time When Good Things Happen For You?

  1. Becky says:

    Wow, Sunny, thank you for this post. It’s like you’ve been reading my mind. I, too, have thankfully had a lot of great things happening to me lately, and I’m completely freaked out by it! I’m just waiting for the ball to drop, which I realize is a complete shame, but can not help doing.

    But when I start feeling anxious about this, I try to remind myself that life is full of ups and downs, and positive things can come from both. I also use positive self-talk I learned from my therapist, telling myself I am a good person, so naturally good things will happen and I deserve them. If I let myself dwell on worry, those worries will eventually become realities. By catching these thoughts early on and correcting them, I’m hoping they’ll eventually disappear for good!

    • Sunny says:

      Thanks Becky, that’s a great thing to remember: That life is ups and downs and circles and changes and that includes great things, good things, sad things, tough things, etc. It’s natural for great things to happen sometimes! xo…Sunny

  2. […] It’s hard for me to take sometimes when good things happen for me. What about you? (via […]

  3. Kate D says:

    I always had a cycle (four to six weeks) where things would be going good and then crash and burn. Right now its been 5 weeks since things were rough and i keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to get bad again.

    I know, intellectually, the bad stuff really isn’t that bad and soon good things will happen again. But my heart feels like I deserve the bad and don’t really deserve all the good. So I’ll eat too much, or watch too much tv, or wallow in my bad feelings.

    I learned through a WebMD program associated with my work that I really can change my emotional state. If I work on taking care of myself, my mood will get better, and I don’t feel like binging to make up for what I’m missing.

  4. This really hits home. I had an abusive childhood where I learned I always had to be good and keep quiet, even when people were bad to me. I grew up angry, afraid to trust and most definitely unable to recognize a compliment much less accept one. Food was my drug, food pushed all of those feelings down, food was the one constant in my life. I realize now that I faked so many emotions. I was happy when it was expected or sad when I realized others were and expected me to be, the thing is, I didn’t know I was faking it. I thought that was how everyone lived. Breaking through a lifetime of this has been a very long and difficult process but I’m making progress and sometimes its just the littlest things that make me stop and feel the awe and feel the gratitude.

  5. Olivia says:

    Yeah, I can definetely relate as well. It’s not that I always binge when good things happen, but I very, very often do find SOME way to sabotage myself.
    Like, if I do get to a weight that I feel great at, I’ll start bingeing non-stop. If I start dating a wonderful guy who’s amazing to me, I’ll stop answering his texts and calls. If I’m at a happy place at a job or at school, I’ll find a way to mess it up. etc. I’m not sure why I do this to myself.. I guess it’s either because deep down, I feel like I don’t deserve those things, or because deep down, I’m unhappy, and I need something ‘bad’ in my life to blame that unhappiness on.. That way, it’s like a problem I can work on resolving, instead of just accepting that I’m unhappy for bigger, more complicated reasons and work on that, which can be way more abstract..

  6. Kate says:

    It’s rare that I come across a blog post that expresses something this accurate about me.

    It’s always bothered me how I experience these really dramatic swings right after something good happens. As though I can’t possibly just be happy without being somehow punished for it. Thanks for writing about this.

    Actually, it just happened to me two days ago. I succeeded at something I really cared about, and immediately, I felt like a failure. As though every success only points out the things I haven’t succeeded at. Yikes.

    • Kate D says:

      I agree! I felt that way right after I graduated from grad school. Here was this big accomplishment I never thought I would do and my only thoughts were about how I should have tried harder to get a 4.0 GPA or I should have gone to a better caliber school. I couldn’t be content just to graduate and bask in what was the hardest two years of my life.

  7. drusillah says:

    Nice post :) ! I also have those feeling…. Low self-worth and perfectionism. You should write a blog post about how to overcome them 😀 I wish my therapist was as good as yours!! :)

    Congrats on improving :) It’s always great to hear of somebody with similar problems, and making progress. It kind of gives inspiration and hope to the others ^^

    Keep on improving! :)

  8. […] I was (am? nah, mostly was) a total perfectionist. People who expect perfection constantly “fail” in their own eyes, and that hurts your […]

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.