Is it okay to be happy right now? What it means if you’re finding joy in the midst of suffering and uncertainty

Many people are anxious and depressed right now. It’s understandable. We’re going through difficult, scary times.

But many others are feeling all kinds of positive emotions. Relief, gratitude, even happiness.

If you’re one of them, you might be wondering, is this okay?

With so much suffering around the world, you might feel guilty about having these emotions.

If you’re chronically ill, you might feel as if the world is catching up to what you’re already going through. Isolation, loneliness, insecurity about health and finances are all part of the package.

As a result, you might feel less alone. Or you might have mixed feelings about it. It can be hard to hear people talking about all the things they’re going to do when this is over, while you’ll be stuck at home like before.

A jumble of high and low emotions is normal right now, whoever you are. But don’t push away the good stuff. If you feel joy rising in your chest, give it room. It’s there for a reason.

On a deep level, our consciousness works in opposites. Life and death. War and peace. Right now, it’s sickness and healing.

If you’re chronically ill, chances are you’ve been through this process. Look back on the person you once were. You’re not the same. Through your illness, you’ve grown and changed. In the midst of sickness, healing.

Now, this is happening on a global scale.

Kindness is blossoming. Every day, you read stories about people going above and beyond to help others.

New Yorkers are cheering every night from their apartment windows for frontline workers. Italians are singing together from their balconies. Children are sewing masks. People are signing up to call nursing home residents, deliver food to food banks, and support their neighbors who need extra help.

In our own nearby town, a restaurant called the Soup Bar is offering free soup to anyone who needs a meal. Little kindnesses.

You don’t need to know about everything that’s going on. Your heart can open without your mind being aware of the reason. That’s the good feeling that’s stealing over you.

I feel it in all kinds of ways. Gratitude is something that I used to have to remind myself to practice. It was like eating my vegetables. Now, it spills out of me without effort.

There’s plenty to be grateful for right now, of course. But there always was. A roof over one’s head. Food on the table. Family and friends.

This tweet today brought tears to my eyes:

You may be experiencing the same thing. And gratitude feels good. It can take you out of fearful thinking. It can lower your blood pressure, and your pain.

For me, my pain levels are up right now, but my experience of the pain is less intense. I’m being kinder to myself. Noticing the little things. The sun as it comes through the window in the morning. The flight of birds from our feeder. My cats playing.

This is also a time when many of us are pressing the pause button on our lives. We’re stepping back. There’s less running around and more quiet contemplation.

We’re asking ourselves fundamental questions. What matters? Why am I here? What can I do to make the world a better place?

If you aren’t doing this, try it. You don’t need to come up with an answer. Just by asking, you’re tuning into the larger global consciousness. It’s easier now than ever before to shift and heal your life.

In so many ways, we’re going through a transformation. It used to be a fringe thing to dig deep. Now it’s a reality and a necessity. We’re leaving the old ways behind.

I used to despair about doctors. They seemed unable to grasp the simple idea that being human makes you a better healer. No amount of research supporting this moved the profession forward. Cold detachment was the rule.

Now, the culture of medicine is being remade before our eyes. One New York City ER doctor’s journal reports the frank, profound and meaningful conversations he’s having with patients. Even though his time is limited, he makes sure they happen. He also talks about being haunted by the look in their eyes.

Before the pandemic, this same doctor was treating patients who were coming to him with heart attacks, strokes, fatal injuries and much else. Yet he never had those conversations, and didn’t take notice of the look in their eyes.

That’s how fast change has come.

While it’s possible things will revert back to business as usual, I don’t think so. There’s too much momentum in every corner of the world.

Whatever happens, be glad if you’re feeling good—even if it’s fleeting. Happiness is not only okay right now, it’s a sign you’re part of something big and beautiful that’s happening to us as a global community. Embrace it.

See what happens next.

Top photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

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