RuPaul says, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love anybody else?" Part of loving yourself is allowing yourself to be happy, not feeling guilty about it. But do you deserve to be happy?
There will be a quiz at the end of this article, but first maybe you want some back story.
I was wandering around Paris, feeling deliriously happy when I noticed a really strong urge to suppress the feeling. It was a deep-seated guilt born of the idea that I shouldn't be happy because;
1. Other people are suffering in the world and your happiness takes away from their suffering
2. My mother wasn't happy, so what makes me think I deserve to be?
3. Happiness is selfish and useless, get to work!
Sigh. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Maybe, and I hope your mother is/was happy, but I'll bet the one or two of other ones resonate.
We live in a society that inherited its mores and work ethic from the Puritans, and they were all work and not much play. If we as Americans feel guilty for enjoying ourselves, we can thank those guys. It leads to stress, illness, burnout and unhappiness.
So I bumped up against this question the other day in the middle of feeling happy.
Do I deserve to be happy? This was a profound moment for me. I don't think I've ever thought of it that way, and I didn't feel like I do. Isn't that kind of sad? Rather than wallow, I immediately tried to answer the question. My friends and family would probably say I do, but do I?
So I came up with this list of questions to ask myself and I have to say, I had a Socratic moment with myself because the questions answered the question.
You can ask yourself these questions to determine if you deserve to be happy. Answer them as honestly as you can, and then add up your "yes" answers to get your score.
1. Are you a kind person (at least some of the time)?
2. Do you love somebody?
3. Does someone love you?
4. Have you done anything kind for anyone, ever?
5. Have you comforted a sad person, ever?
6. Do you like puppies and/or kittens?
Now, add up your "yes" answers. If you answered more than one of the questions with a "yes," you deserve to be happy.
I've included photos of things that make me happy. What could you photograph today that would be a visual list of things that make you happy?