Feel Happy, Not Guilty


Since when should feeling happy be followed by feeling guilty?  Why is it that so many people want to make others feel guilty for being happy?  Is this normal?  It’s common, but is it right?  It seems to me that selfish impulses will always blind a person’s vision to the point of destroying another one’s happiness, intentionally or unintentionally.  These impulses are what kill the joys and pleasures brought by happiness until the person who was once happy now feels guilty for having enjoyed something.  It’s a bad societal tendency and it shouldn’t have started in the first place.

If you do something that makes you happy, you should continue to do it (as long as it doesn’t have to do with purposely harming others for your own enjoyment of course).  You’ve been told to do so your whole life.  “Follow your heart.”  “Pursue your dreams.”  “Do whatever makes you happy.”  Your parents tell you this as you grow older, your teachers say it in school, and you tell yourself this whenever you’re in doubt.  But sometimes we’ll encounter situations where the people around us will do or say things to suggest that the actions you took to feeling happy were wrong.  You might feel guilty now, as if you didn’t deserve the temporary happy feeling inside.  However, who is to say that your actions were bad, wrong, or shameful?  Who is to say that you shouldn’t be happy?  No one can make you feel guilty for following your heart, pursuing your dreams, and doing what makes you happy.

If what makes you happy doesn’t feel wrong to you, then don’t feel ashamed about it and certainly don’t feel guilty about doing it.  What makes you happy should keep you happy, not make you feel bad.  If someone tries to tell you you’re doing something wrong, then evaluate who is telling you that, what their motives are, and then decide whether or not their words carry any weight.  I’m not suggesting you should completely disregard the opinions of those around you because, at the end of the day, you have to consider the people in your life when you make your own decisions, but I am suggesting you shouldn’t sacrifice your life and your happiness for those who make you feel less happy.  It is your life and they are your decisions, so you should choose to make yourself happy by taking the right actions.  It’s not fair for you to jeopardize your happiness for a person whose opinion essentially doesn’t matter.  If you know your reasons are valid, then why stop doing it and stop being happy?

Now, if you are one of those who slow down the progress of another person’s happiness, it’s probably because you yourself are not happy.  You probably aren’t giving yourself the proper attention you need to be happy and that’s not fair to yourself or those around you.  Take some time to find your own happiness, so that you’re not negatively affecting yourself and the people in your life.  Figure out what you enjoy, what you want, and what makes you happy.  Rather than holding back the people around you, let them go and push yourself forward in the process.  You should never make another person feel guilty for doing what they enjoy just as no one should do that to you.  Happiness is meant to be pleasant and positive, so no one’s happiness should ever become a feeling of guilt.


About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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