It’s funny how we believe we know what happiness is, and how confident we are about the list of things we’ve acquired, believing they can provide happiness for us. Maybe happiness is indeed a choice, a state of mind. Yet, even with all this love we receive from our families, qualifications, high ranked jobs, status, fast cars, music and money, we still go to bed empty, struggling to make the choice to be happy, and that’s scary …

It could be that, even though we know what happiness is, we are scared to choose it because we want to avoid disappointing the people we are trying to please. Maybe if we chose happiness they would call us fools, or we would lose friends and that cheque, because since starting that job, every morning your heart has been heavy. If you had to choose your happiness, your pockets would be empty. Ever since you left that dream for something more promising, every day you keep drifting further and further away from yourself, and the truth is that, you know it’s happening, but you don’t have a choice but to keep doing it.

I often hear people who have given themselves time to know me speak of how kind and great I am, even though I don’t see it myself. I can’t see it sometimes because of the things I have not yet acquired, or because of where I come from, or because when I look at myself I still see a lot of work that still needs to be done. It actually took me a long time to actually be okay with the fact that I am a work in progress. A few month ago, though, I made peace with being kind to myself, and with being okay with not being okay. That was a start.

I have nothing but hope that one day we will get it right. Choosing happiness is simple, but choosing it for ourselves is hard. It means choosing to separate yourself first from the pain and trauma of the past, and forgiving yourself for allowing people to use and dishonour you. It means forgiving what they said, knowing it’s not who you are, and no longer comparing yourself with others and judging yourself based on the things you lost … at least that’s a start.

Waking up every day and choosing yourself could hurt people, since you will now be growing out of their expectations. Waking up every day and choosing to leave behind everything that ever mattered to you because it had already rejected you, waking up every day and fighting addiction because it is binding you, waking up every day and choosing to see what others doesn’t see in you, no matter how hard it may be, that is happiness. Or maybe it’s not.

Happiness is not what I tell you. It is not what your mother approves, or what your friends enjoy, and it might not even be as appealing as you thought it would be. But you still need to be true to your happiness.

As for me, I think I’m finally learning to dance to the rhythm of my own heartbeat. I think I’m finally seeing myself and the beauty I have, and I’m finally getting this happiness thing right.

It could have been in any other year, but it had to be 2020. Last night, during an amazing conversation, I discovered that my birthday this year is on the exact day I was born, and, for the first time, I realised why things had to realign.


Tell us: What does happiness mean to you?