EDIT: Less than an hour after I wrote this article, I encountered a man on a trail I run. I never see anyone else out there, so I was a little startled to see him. His dogs approached me, forcing me to stop so they wouldn’t chase. Keeping a safe distance, the man and I exchanged greetings and a little small talk, then, out of the blue, he said, “I don’t feel like I deserve to feel happy right now.”
OK HELLO! This is exactly what I had just written about! Exactly what I’ve been feeling myself! And judging by my chance encounter with this man, apparently I’m not the only one feeling this way.
So, if you’re feeling this way too, I’m here to tell you- It’s ok to feel happy!
Here’s the original blog post:
I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I need to get it off my chest. Despite all the stress and uncertainty of these last few weeks, I am absolutely loving this time with my kids.
Why do I feel like a terrible person for feeling this way when there are so many things going wrong in the world?
Am I the only person who feels guilty for feeling moments of joy in this painful situation?
Somehow I don’t think I am.
I think many of us feel bad if we have good moments during challenging times. It’s as if we think we don’t deserve happy moments when there’s so much sadness in the world.
If the world around us is hurting, we won’t allow ourselves to feel happiness, even for a moment. And if happiness does sneak up on us, we push it away and beat ourselves up for feeling it.
We hear about the beautiful souls who are risking their own health to work the front lines in the hospitals, delivering our mail, working in the grocery stores so we can have food, and so many other essential workers out there giving and giving. Incredible people who are fighting for all of us, sacrificing on so many levels.
As we sit here feeling helpless in our homes.
So when we find ourselves having handstand contests with our kids in the backyard, falling down and laughing so hard tears stream down our face, we feel guilty. We aren’t supposed to feel happiness right now.
Reading the words I just typed, I can see how ridiculous this thinking is, but it doesn’t stop that voice in my head from calling me selfish for having a fun day with my kids. The voice that says if times are hard, I must live that pain every single moment. That voice is nonsense.
Not only is it ok to feel happy during hard times, it is also incredibly HEALING. Not just for our own hearts, but for the people around us... For the world.
Our experiencing moments of joy does not diminish our gratitude for the sacrifices our essential workers are making. Our feeling happiness doesn’t mean we aren’t hurting right along with the rest of the world.
What our happiness does is multiply.
In this devastating, confusing, world-changing time, positive energy spreads just as quickly as negative energy.
Countering all the fear and uncertainty with love and joy is a gift we can give, a contribution we can make to the world from the isolation of our own homes.
Finding joy, counting our blessings, allowing this time to lift the veil of our usually hectic lives to reveal who and what matters most, then celebrating and embracing those people and things… there is so much power in that.
Good power. Happy power. Positive power. Light. LOVE.
We are no good to the world if we stifle that energy. The world needs light and love now more than ever.
The people who are sacrificing for our health need our positive energy. They need us to keep spreading the healing power of love and joy and hope. We are their back up cast, the supporting role, setting the stage for happiness and health. Driving out the darkness of fear and worry, even if only for a few moments here and there.
Not only are we ALLOWED to feel happiness right now, the world NEEDS us to.
Happy hearts spread love, and love casts out fear. Even if only for a moment. In that moment, we feel peace, and when we feel peace, the world feels it too.
And little by little those moments of peace add up to something truly magical.
So go smile today, and I will too.
All my love, Jen