Who am I to be happy?
Who are you not to be?
I have gotten back-lash in the past for being happy or positive. Or written off. Oh Brittany she’s a hippy. She talks about love and is always trying to put a positive spin on something. Going against the grain, can mean being categorized and pushed aside.
But we have created this society. A society where we accept depression and stress. Depression is the norm. We talk more about our problems and struggles than we do our joys. We hate our jobs. We butt heads in our relationships. And we just give up on them and let them disintegrate. How else could divorce rates be so high? It is easier to give up and not deal with something or someone than it is to truly feel something. We would rather drink and do drugs, or whatever vice we may have than feel pain. We avoid it. We cover it. We blame. We accept the suck in our lives. But it is not our circumstances or lives that suck, we do. We suck. We accept the negativity as a norm.
We will wallow in our pain. We love that. To complain. To find faults. We bring depression upon ourselves. Our limited scope of the world, of life beyond a current circumstance, limits us. It’s like looking out of a dusty, dark window. As Thoreau has said, it’s not what you look at, but what you see.
Life is perspective. How you view it. Choice.
I am not happy all the time, but I am a lot better at catching myself. When I find myself having negative thoughts. Feeling stress. Being judgmental. Lacking compassion. Feeling sorry for myself. I catch it. I rebuke it. I go back to gratitude. What I am thankful for. How blessed I am. I cannot be down, when I am so blessed. We have to be self-aware. Call ourselves out. Be willing to change in an instance. You can decide not to be depressed. Not to be suppressed. To say no temptations. Reach for joy, rather than allowing yourself to be pulled down.
Because how does wallowing help? How does it helps others? How does it serve you? How does it serve God and his glory?
And I have caught myself to, who am I to be happy. Especially when someone I love is suffering. But am I helping that person, by just drowning with them? Do you just jump in and all drown together. Or do you throw in a life saver. Do you swim and pull them above the water? Or do you sink to?
I’ve felt this way with my brother lately. He’s one of the big soft spots on my heart. Growing up we were Cliff and Brittany. You had to say us together. We were inseparable. And seeing him face challenges right now, has challenged me. How can I help? How can I take away any suffering he may have?
But what was revealed to me was this: LOVE.
Love has no stipulations. I will love you when…….I will love you if………. Because these when’s and if’s are usually in a self-serving manner. When they act in accordance to our liking. Our beliefs. Our will. Love is not self-serving.
And when we are struggling, we need this love the most. We don’t need to be made to feel small. To be reminded of our shortcomings or failures. We don’t need to rehash what we should, would, could have done. That does not help us now. We do not need to feel judged.
Sometimes when people are struggling we will write them off because we are uncomfortable dealing with them. My grandfather drank, and most of the time I wrote him off. I classified him as an alcoholic. Put him in that box. And filed it away. I pushed him away. With his death, I learned a lot about forgiveness. I had to forgive him. And I had to forgive myself, for pushing him away. For judging him for his sin. Because in boxing him up, I was looking at him through a limited scope. I only saw his sin. And we do this often, we identify someone solely on their sin or their illness. The person with cancer. The drug addict. They are still people. Solely viewing my grandfather as an alcoholic, did not let me embrace him for the man he was. Because even though a vice can take over our life, there is still a person inside there. And my grandfather, he was a beautiful man. He was funny. A complete character. He never met a stranger. He was bold. He LOVED to clean. He was so proud of us. Like I know now if he saw me, he would be proud. He loved us all so much. He was charismatic. And the list goes on. We are not limited to our struggles, but more.
We cannot see the goodness in someone if we are focused on the bad.
And so when someone is struggling, we need to meet them with love. Embrace. I see you. I see your struggles and I am here for you. I still love you. You can’t make choices for them. And we don’t know what someone is feeling or has been through, but we can meet them at our best. Think. Do as to others as you would have done unto you. Who wants to be belittled? To made feel small. To feel judged.
And in that doing our best, lies the question: who am I to be happy.
It does not serve anyone for you to play small. I like this quote by Marianne Williams:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
You have to do the inside work on yourself, before you can help anyone. It’s like my father teaches with health, if you are sick or unhealthy or stressed how do you serve anyone? Because if you die, then you can’t do anything for anyone. If you don’t take care of the insides, your spirit. If you don’t take care of your body, then how can you help anyone else? Playing small does not let us work for God’s glory. To walk in our gifts. For the plans he has for us. We cannot accept his goodness, if we are focused elsewhere.
But if you are filled with joy and love and acceptance, then others can feel that. Let your light shine.