The guilt of feeling happy and mantras to find your joy | wit and pleasure

I am a constant habit tracker and goal seeker, always aspiring to do/see/feel/experience more. It’s the way I’m connected; I barely think about this side of me, I just live in it. But although I am constantly on the hunt for more, I admit that I have it pretty good. (I wouldn’t say I have it all, I think it’s rude. It is also false). I get to stay home with my kids and soak up every little moment with them that I can before they grow up and leave the metaphorical nest. I have a partner who works hard so I can stay home. We are all in good health and I get to use my brain in ways that fuel me creatively, get paid to do something I love. As someone who has known his calling since he was young, this is deeply satisfying.

Everything satisfies me, gives me many moments of joy, and yet I want more. Financial freedom, travel, success – I want it all. Enter my cognitive dissonance. Why do I want more when I already have so much? Does that make me greedy and ungrateful?

And then there are those who have less, for whom joy is something they must actively pursue, just to maybe, possibly, if they’re lucky, access it. I feel bad about it, like being so happy, happier than ever (except maybe for that year I lived in Italy?), is somehow not good. Can I celebrate this joy when so many in my orbit are struggling to find it?

These questions run wild in my head as I start planning my next year. They make me question if I can celebrate my happiness when I know so many others are in an ongoing battle with theirs. I am aware that it is not my war to fight, and that I am less happy will not bring more happiness to others. Joy is not a cake; my piece doesn’t get smaller when yours gets bigger. In any case, I would say that it is the opposite; joy multiplies. It is the antidote to the universal truth that hurt people hurt people.

Sometimes when I consider all that I have, then think about what more I want, I feel a sense of guilt, as if simply wanting more makes me ungrateful for all that I have.

Still, sometimes when I consider all I have, then think about what more I want, I feel a sense of guilt, as if simply wanting more makes me ungrateful for all I have.

No more of this! It’s not bad to be happy. I am not better or worse than anyone because I have a life in which I experience sincere joy on a daily basis. Empathy is a true gift to this world, but as I wrestle with these thoughts as I consider my own happiness and the lack of happiness of others, I realize how quickly empathy can turn into martyrdom, and that benefits exactly none of us.

It is also not bad to be ambitious and want to achieve more. I need to clear up that hazy dissonance because now I see that if I don’t keep working for more, if I get stuck in the mire of complacency, then my joy will slowly fade away.

maybe that desire is My happiness.

It’s not a lack of gratitude, it’s not wanting to have it better; that impulse is simply what brings me joy. And that is a wonderful realization.

I came up with a few mantras to help me navigate this cognitive dissonance, and I’ll share them with you in case you need a reminder about the beautiful transformative power of one of the simplest words in our language: and.

i can love my life and they want more.

I can find joy in my children and you want to spend time away from them.

I can be fulfilled and They crave more job satisfaction.

I can be happy and wants to create more.

i can love my people and I want to be alone.

i can be mom and can be me

Parents, creators, human beings that exist today, we are pulled in many directions. We are mom and we are sister, employee and student. I may still be learning this, but I think it’s okay to be content, even happy, with one or all of our titles, and still want more. And most importantly, it’s okay to feel joy in our work, our life, our relationships, when not everyone else does. What is not right is to tarnish that joy because others do not experience theirs.

I can be happy and others may be sad.

And while that’s a painful truth, it’s a truth all the same.

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