Is it ok to be happy?

Have you ever come out of a yoga class feeling so much better you wonder how you can be the same person as before?

Sometimes, we can be so in the habit of being busy or grumpy that it’s become our default. We find every day annoying at best. We have somehow become married to the belief that life is always a struggle and we only feel happy for short bursts here and there.

I’ve noticed this tendency in myself and my students, and I’ve come to realise that there are lots of reasons we actually curtail our own happiness and contentment. Some that spring to mind are: 

·      Out of habit

·      Comraderie – sometimes when everyone around us is having a bad time, we feel like more a team player or more caring to share the negativity

·      Guilt – we feel bad that we’re happy when someone else isn’t

·      Because we’ve learned to be ‘good’ – good parents, good children, good managers or employees – we show we take our responsibilities seriously by working too hard and being very serious 

All noble intentions but here’s the question, do we really help anyone by making sure we’re not too happy? We don’t have to have to tap dance on the desk of a depressed colleague, but we can learn there are other ways of being connected and supportive of people around us than going down if they do. Truth is, we don’t help anyone by doing this.  

This was really the only way I knew to show people I cared about them for years. Depressed? I’ll cry alongside you to show my empathy. I might even go deeper because that’s how much I feel your pain – even more than my own pain! It didn’t really occur to me that there was an alternative, let alone that by allowing myself to be happy sometimes, I was showing that this is possible, which is good for the people around me. If someone was irritated or challenged by me being happy, maybe that wasn’t a bad thing.

As an experiment, for the next few days, let the possibility of happy moments slip in to your life. It doesn’t mean your life will be perfect at all. It doesn’t mean you won the lottery or got a promotion. It’s about noticing the moments of pleasure when you have your morning coffee, or noticing a flower blooming on the way to work. Maybe someone smiles at you on the street or you have a particularly good avocado for lunch.

So yes, you are the same person before and after yoga! And it’s ok to be happy.

Lots of love