Sometimes we feel guilty for being happy. For being “successful”, whatever that word might mean in whichever society you find yourself. Sometimes we feel bad for feeling good. We’re afraid of what our happiness might mean for others’ sadness. How can we be incandescently happy when others are not? Well, here’s the secret: your happiness is your gift to the world, even if it’s not easy to see it that way.
When we allow ourselves to be happy, we invite others to be happy too. When we free ourselves, we invite others to be free too. When we are authentic, we let others step into their authentic selves.
It’s not about outshining others, it’s about lighting the path for others to join.
There’s nothing sanctimonious about striving to be happy; there’s nothing arrogant about becoming all that you can be. There’s nothing flamboyant about fully being who and what you are. Likewise, there’s nothing reverent about repeating your past because you’re too afraid of losing those who may not make it to your new, happy future.
But still, guilt can follow, telling us it’s wrong to be happy in a world where so many people aren’t. In a world rife with suffering, what right do we have to be free from it?
But suffering, like sadness, is a state of mind; it’s not a matter of fact. Sadness isn’t inherent to anyone’s existence, it’s just the lens through which they are currently looking at the world. Sadness or despair or depression are not forever, and your happiness doesn’t rub their sadness in their face—instead, it uplifts them, inspires them, and motivates them to move away from negativity.
No one can avoid life’s difficulties, be they big or small. We’re all destined—not doomed—to be confronted by something bigger than we’re capable of conquering. We’re all destined to suffer. But even in the midst of suffering, even in the most trying of times, we all have access to stillness, to happiness, to the simple joy of being alive.
Being happy doesn’t mean you’re leaving others behind, it means you’re pushing them forward. It means you’re elevating the world. By keeping your own emotional space clean, you purify the emotional space around you, and you make life brighter for everyone else.
Let me tell you more simply: your happiness matters. Your success matters. If you find others are committed to living subpar lives, so be it. If happiness is a lonely pursuit, so be it. It may be that way for now. But soon enough you will find others who are walking the same path; others who are using their light to shine on the darkest parts of the world, to heal themselves and to heal others. Soon enough, you will find others who rejoice in your happiness. Who want your success. Who hope for it and who cheer you on.
Keep fighting the good fight, the fight for your right to be happy and to be all that you can be. It’s your life after all, and it’s okay to be happy while you’re living it.