Are You Allowed To Be Happy When Others Aren’t?

Somewhere long ago I was told, perhaps not in words but by a much deeper means of communication from those who held all the power in life, that I could not fully shine, celebrate, or be all that I knew I could be if people around me were suffering. The instant question that was installed and always arises when I am about to leap into joy, or love, or something wonderful is “Will this make someone else feel bad?” After all, they may not have my talent, my relationships, my resources, or the gifts I have been given in life. If I let my light shine and share all that is good in life…. will it add to other’s depression and despair? And thus I became a shadow artist. Stepping out on special occasions to create something that delighted me, then quickly disappearing back into the shadows so as not to seem too full of myself, too good at anything, too happy or satisfied or proud, or toooooooo……you get the picture. The crazy thing is that my holding back never seemed to help relieve others’ suffering. It only added to my own. That is one of the false narratives and lies that we grow up with that I believe robs us all of finding out what’s possible. So we find ways to express ourselves through others. “I am here to help you. I have an idea for you. I have something that can help set you free.” And sometimes we do make things better, and at other times we are unable to make a dent, and then we get angry that others are not taking the necessary steps or living the life we want them to live so that we can be happy. It is so messed up! Be clear, helping others IS a source of great joy and fulfillment and how things get better, just not “helping” in the place of living your life fully and with as much love and joy as possible on a daily basis.

Today I am contemplating laying down my life as I have known it for a while, (it’s just an exercise, don’t worry), and going inward. What if I let God handle all the finances for a while and supply all of our needs? What if I lovingly bless and let go of all the people I think I have to save just for now? What if I become like a child again in the midst of all the chaos, and begin to play, create, imagine, and celebrate the life I have been given here? What if I make an apple pie, spend time listening to Dakota our horse, Riley our dog, and Max our cat, sing songs around a fire pit, clean and decorate my home, dance with abandon, paint, write, read, take long walks in nature, make trips to the ocean, take pictures of life, laugh a lot every day, do QiGong for healing, make love and lay in bed talking for hours, hear other people’s stories, tell stories of my own, ride bikes, take hikes, have picnics, celebrate being alive, and focus on all that makes me happy? What if I try something completely new? There are times to go into the cave and sit around the fire and rest, eat, reflect, and renew. This feels like one of those times. Time to try something new. Go gently with yourself right now. Joy is within your reach, just stretch a little to touch it.

About Elizabeth Browning

Elizabeth Browning is a filmmaker, actress, director, and one of New York City's most respected acting coaches. Her production company, Joy Light Productions, creates film and television designed to inspire. Elizabeth is also an Area Manager and Independent Consultant with Arbonne International, offering people from all walks of life an opportunity to become financially free while discovering a new path to health, beauty, and overall well-being.

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