Happiness is an experience we all long for and deserve in our lives. We may wish for the happiness that comes with a much-needed vacation or an exciting new love affair, yet when the experience of happiness emerges, we may be too overcome with guilt to enjoy it. If guilt is interfering with your ability to feel joy, you may find relief in looking at the beliefs you hold about yourself and what it means for you to be happy.
Guilt about feeling happy can arise for different reasons. Deep down, you may believe that you don’t deserve to be happy because you hurt someone in the past, had more than others growing up, or maybe you received a mean comment from someone you admire. Perhaps it once seemed that painful experiences always followed happy ones; now, you find yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop whenever you begin to feel happy. Happiness may even feel uncomfortable because you’ve gotten so used to feeling down. The truth is that when you feel too guilty to let yourself enjoy positive emotions, you deny a part of yourself that has a right to exist. By limiting your life experience to just the negative feelings, you are cutting yourself off from the fullness of life — which includes all of the positive emotions. Fortunately, you can begin to shift the way you respond to happiness even at this moment.
From now on, when happiness begins to blossom in your heart, try to accept it, relish in it, ask it to stay. It’s okay to feel happy even if you believe you don’t deserve it. Feeling good is an expression of your wholeness and your connection with life. The next time happiness appears for you, try not to feel guilty about it. Instead, welcome your happiness is like a long-awaited friend.