It Is Safe to Be Happy

A conversation with the part of me that is afraid to be happy.

Jordin James
Mar 1 · 5 min read
Photo by Eye for Ebony

A part of me is committed to believing something is wrong with me.

Because as long as we believe something is wrong with us, we can spend all our time fixing that thing that is wrong instead of getting out there and living our real, vulnerable lives.

This part would much rather spend their time in the minutia of our inner-world and dream of the day we are “okay enough” to get out there are make it big, than actually doing the work to get out there and make it big.

Because failure. Because judgment. Because this part holds the burden of believing that fully living our life is scary and unsafe.

Today, this part of me is ready to let go of that burden. It is safe to live our lives as our true selves. It is safe to fail. It is safe to stop trying to fix ourselves. It is safe to take a break from the constant vigilance of our inner world in exchange for more presence in the outer one.

This part of me is scared of self-discipline because other parts of me have used harsh self-discipline to try and make us be who we are “supposed” to be. But I release all need to become whoever other people think I am supposed to be. I release this again and again, whenever I am prompted. Becoming someone I am not is not my aim anymore.

But in the wake of self-discipline, this part of me that is scared of living has my inner system at the whim of every transitory feeling. It doesn’t like having a transitory identity, so it ruminates on the feelings that feel most “me.” These feelings are ones of brokenness, helplessness, and shame.

This part has my dreaming of who I can be if we can just “get rid of” our shame. If we can just get down to the root of it and heal it all. Then we can show up. Then we can live our lives. Then we won’t need self-discipline because we’ll be perfect.

So basically, when we can fully heal ourselves and become perfect, then we’ll show up in the outer world.

But the problem is, when this part is in charge of my inner system, it continues to ruminate on shit in my past and on things that make me feel ashamed. It does this in the name of “healing” but what it is not healing to drudge up painful emotions to “analyze” every free second. Of course we’re spinning our wheels.

“But not self-discipline!” this part screams, “Self-discipline makes us feel even more shame! Self-discipline is for all those people who still believe they aren’t enough as they are. Self-discipline is for the people that are still trying to outrun their shame and prove their worth to other people. We aren’t outrunning our shame through self-discipline anymore.”

To which I respond, “No, we are not trying to prove anything anymore. We are not outrunning our shame anymore. But it is time to make a big change yet again, and this change involves you. We are also not incessantly trying to fix ourselves and perfect our inner worlds. We are also not wallowing in our shame anymore.”

What this part doesn’t know is that it is safe to practice self-discipline when we use it not as a tool to become someone we are not, but as a tool to express who we really are. To show up in real-time with all of our imperfections. To start building the life of our dreams now, not when we are “perfectly healed.” Because whenever there is a “when” condition on our happiness, we will never actually experience it. The “when” never comes. Even with healing. We have to be happy now. We have to live now. Now is all we have.

Yes, we have some baggage we are still carrying around. And we’ll get to that. But we’ve gone as far as we can with this vigilant self-awareness that is focused on everything that isn’t here and everything that makes us feel ashamed. We can let our feelings of shame go. Seriously. We can just think of something good instead. I know this part hates this “choose to be happy” stuff but only because it is afraid of being happy.

It’s safe to be happy. It is safe to live in abundance. It is safe to be clear about what we want and to take regular steps to make it a reality for us.

We can choose not to ruminate in negative comparisons. We can choose to look for the good and count our blessings. We can use our self-discipline to focus on living our best life and feeling as good as possible. Yes, this will require us to let go of our identity as being self-conscious and ashamed all the time. But that’s not our real identity anyway. Our real identity is whole, powerful, compassionate, courageous, and playful. Our real identity is happy. We don’t have to “fix ourselves” before we can get there. We can live in abundance now. We can manifest our dreams now.

This part still doesn’t believe it is safe to be happy. I can feel it shrinking and pouting. And I do feel for it, because it is holding trauma that has not been released yet. It has done all it’s searching in my shame to find the key for it to unburden. It makes complete sense why this part is the way it is.

But for now it will have to take my word for it that it is safe to be happy. That we can use self-discipline to express who we are instead of become someone we are not. I cannot help this part heal when this part is in charge of me.

The best thing I can do for this part is listen to happy music. Is to stick with my habits for ascension. Is to show this part our identity is more than feeling ashamed of ourselves. So much more.

There is nothing to fix, here. Nothing to figure out. Only this moment of our precious life to live.

It is safe to be playful.

It is safe to show up for ourselves with self-discipline.

It is safe to let our shameful feelings go whenever they arise.

It is safe to be happy.

Sign up for Curious Hits

By Curious

Find out what others have already figured out. Subscribe to receive top 10 most read stories of Curious — delivered straight into your inbox, once a week. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Jordin James

Written by

Trauma-informed coach who helps women reclaim their identity so they can embody their worth, live powerfully, and have healthy relationships. @justjordinjames

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Jordin James

Written by

Trauma-informed coach who helps women reclaim their identity so they can embody their worth, live powerfully, and have healthy relationships. @justjordinjames

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store