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Beyond the BUS Window: Giving Myself Permission to BE Happy!

Have you ever felt guilt bubbling up when something wonderful happens in your life, but those around you seem to be stuck in suffering? You're not alone. Many of us get caught in the trap of believing our happiness is contingent on the external world. But what if true happiness, the kind that radiates outwards and uplifts those around you, actually comes from within?

On Friday, during my closing keynote presentation on Embracing Hope, Heart, and Healing – I spent some time reflecting over my own life and my healing journey. As a young girl, I remember getting on the school bus in the mornings and while other children laughed and engaged in playful conversations, I starred outside the window trying to think of what I could do to make my family happy.  Early on, I took on the responsibility of other people's happiness.  This belief followed me into my role as a wife and as a mother and when those around me weren’t happy, it had to be because of something I had done (or hadn’t done).  The burden of responsibility to fix their happiness felt heavy, and frankly, exhausting. It wasn't until I stopped looking outside (that window) and begin looking inside (the mirror) that I was able to break free from the suffering I had created for myself.


"True happiness is not achieved by external factors, but by the way you choose to respond to what happens in your life." - Viktor Frankl


This realization became a turning point. I began to prioritize my own well-being, not out of selfishness, but because I understood a happier me meant a better version of me for everyone in my life. Think of it like this: on an airplane, you're instructed to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others. It's the same with happiness. By filling your own cup with joy, you become a source of positivity that can overflow and uplift those around you.

So how did I translate this newfound knowledge into action? I started small. I identified activities that sparked genuine joy, like getting lost in a good book for an hour or taking a mindful walk in my neighborhood. Gradually, the guilt faded, replaced by a sense of peace and contentment. This inner peace, in turn, allowed me to be more present and supportive for those facing challenges. My positive energy became an inspiration, not a burden.

Remember, when you allow yourself to experience joy, it doesn't diminish the happiness of others. In fact, it can inspire them to seek their own paths to fulfillment. Give yourself permission to be happy today. Start by identifying one small thing that brings you a smile, something you can weave into your daily routine. It could be a dance party in your kitchen or simply savoring a cup of coffee in quietness of your own home. You deserve the gift of happiness. Choose it, embrace it, and watch the ripple effect of joy spread outwards. Today choose to BE Happy!

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