Thursday, August 21, 2008

Warding off the evil eye?

I was just talking with my sister, who is really happy about a brand-new job that seems like everything she really wants right now, and she said, "I hope it works out." I asked if the only reason she said that was that it seemed to be too good to be true and she said, "Pretty much." I identified because I do the same thing. If something is really great, I look for the flaws in it anyway, because if I'm too happy, that's just tempting fate.

I know that the Greeks used to have a saying like, "Don't brag when the gods are listening," which is why we knock wood when we say something like, "My car's great, I've never had a problem with it." And a lot of cultures have talismans against the evil eye, because if someone sees you too happy they might start wishing bad things on you.

Even the "Oh, I'm so fat, you're the one who's pretty" dialogue (so intellectually stimulating) is a way to make sure no one thinks you're too happy with the way you look. Some of us might take it too literally by actually getting fat, I think. After all, if everything is good, what do we worry about? And not worrying seems somehow dangerous.

I know I'm not alone because I've seen plenty of others doing this, so my question is, how do we stop?


  1. I think it's because we all know the ying and yang of things prove that even happiness or satisfaction is "for the moment". We just need to figure out how to really live in the moment . . . how to embrace the joy that is ours. Anyway, it sounds good but I have no idea how to make it happen short of having a terminal illness.

  2. I worry about getting too happy. I was raised to think that way. I try and remember that for my parents, times were really rough and so it was hard to be optimistic. On the other hand, where does worrying get you? As long as you're realistic about things and not living in cuckoo-land, worrying seems to eat up a part of ourselves.

    Good post, Jen.

  3. A friend who lived in the world of psychotherapy once told me those "I'm so fat/dumb/inept/ugly" lines get embedded in our brains. They have to be followed up with a correction RIGHT AWAY. "Damn, I forgot my keys. I'm so dumb!" thus needs a "I was really smart to cultivate good feelings with my neighbors".

    Don't know if it works with the evil eye of how good something is but it's interesting to listen to oneself and consider what your brain is feeding off of in your self-perceptions.

  4. LOL, I wear a St. Benedicts medal because he wards off the ojo (aka evil eye) - so I'm definitely not the person to answer this type of question :)


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07