Do You (Almost) Feel Guilty About Feeling Great Right Now?

Last week I surveyed subscribers to my weekly-ish newsletter. I have read every single reply, and was delighted to notice a common theme emerging with many of the responses. Especially with all the bad and unsettling news we are getting each day, it brought a smile to my face to read answers like, “Holding up well; fine; very blessed; fantastic, etc.,” to my question: “Speaking of the 2020 crisis, how are you holding up?”

It is truly beautiful to know many of you are holding up pretty well

But, do you know what was also really interesting? 

The number of respondents who felt a little self-conscious about feeling and doing well during this crisis. 

Their sentiments of feeling guilty about feeling happy reminded of the similar sentiments we can sometimes have when it comes to achieving the success we want. 

In fact, it reminded me of an email I got about 18-months after an engagement with a coaching client concluded. The subject line read, “The Weird Stress of Success.” You see, she met all the goals we had mapped out together…ahead of the forecasted schedule! Excellent, right?! 

And yet…

Her feelings about this incredible achievement, to me, resemble those of some of the people who completed the survey and expressed feeling self-conscious about being happy when there’s so much bad happening in the world. 

It may sound ironic to refer to it as the “stress of success” or the “stress of happiness” but the phenomenon is very real. 

Because it can be challenging to claim your success, to claim your happiness in the best of times, let alone in the midst of a global health and financial crisis. 

At times, not only do you need to navigate your own feelings, you sometimes find yourself in a position where you are helping other people manage their feelings and reactions to your success and happiness!

However, with this post, I’m asking you to please, pretty please proclaim your success and happiness. Often. 

To claim your success; to claim your happiness requires courage

It also means giving yourself permission to stand out. And, we need you to do that! Your doing so makes room for and helps others to day the same. 

After all, whether it regards success or happiness, it’s what you want, right? It is the reward for: 

  • Hard work and discipline
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Perseverance
  • Sacrifice
  • Tremendous talent and dedication
  • And much more…

The success and source of happiness can be as varied as the many eyes reading this. For example, it can be:

  • Staying in business as others close
  • Having a job, whilst your colleagues, friends and family members lose theirs
  • Having an amazing marriage/relationship that’s getting stronger during this quarantine lock down, while your closest friend wonders if their marriage/relationship will survive
  • …fill in the blank

You Are a Beacon For Others

Whatever success and happiness looks like for you, please embrace it so we can celebrate you! 

Please embrace it so that those who aren’t experiencing success and happiness right now can see (and remember) what’s possible. 

Please embrace it so we all can remember that it is okay to be okay – even when the world seems to be going “to hell in a handbasket.”

And by all means remember this: Saying you are “holding up well; fine; very blessed; fantastic, etc.,” doesn’t make you a less compassionate and empathetic person. 

Going back to my former client, we scheduled a follow-up session to work on her embracing and adjusting to her newfound and duly earned success, which sparked the following testimonial from her afterward:

“Over the course of two years, my networth went from about -$12,000 to over $105,000! The change feels great. I feel more grounded and secure about my finances, and confident in asking for much healthier rates for the work I do. Running the numbers completely and holistically made the progress I’ve made undeniable. Thank you for all the support and wisdom you’ve imparted to me along the way; it’s been invaluable.”

I share this for several reasons: For starters, I am incredibly happy for her. After all she put in the work that brought about her results. 

I also share it because if you need help in order to not feel guilty about feeling great or experiencing success right now, reach out to someone who can help you work through those emotions

Yes, it takes tremendous courage to raise your hand and say, “hey, I need help.” But, I’m so glad she did. 

And no, the survey respondents didn’t say they needed help processing their feelings. They simply expressed the duality of feeling great and feeling self-conscious about it. And I want them to know I see them, and that I recognize and appreciate the courage it took to do so. 

TL:DR: Own your success and happiness. Unequivocally. In good times, and especially in challenging times. Your doing so serves as a beacon for others.

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