I remember telling people that I was happy. Happy. A word to describe a feeling or showing of pleasure or contentment. Telling myself and others that I was happy when I wasn’t, was a betrayal to my soul. After two years, I couldn’t stomach the pain of telling people that I was happy anymore, thus, I decided to take some time for my soul and started my quest on feeling authentically happy.
For me, feeling authentically happy stems from accepting yourself and loving each and every layer of your mind, body, and soul. Accepting myself did not come easy – of course. It began when I started to set an intention for myself. Shifting paradigms from a world of blame, doubt, and shame, to a world of allowance, tolerance, and acceptance, was the first step. Rather than acknowledging self hatred, I started to acknowledge self love. Feeling happy life does not stem from self hatred. Thus, I began to love my mind and body became one with myself.
In line, my inner critic has always been one to stop me from feeling even a little content with my life. When my inner critic becomes more vocal, now it is how I handle them and crush them. I use to equate my inner critic with a voice of reason. I always told myself that it was strictly the truth and that I needed to overwork myself and do better. It was not until I attended my first hot yoga session where I started to accept my insecurities and began listening to my heart rather than the voice in my head. You are probably wondering, why hot yoga? At first, I did not believe I could complete the session without quitting halfway through. My inner critic kept telling me that I was not going to make it and that hot yoga wasn’t something for me. I will admit, I am not flexible but I do love yoga. During the session, I kept telling myself to ignore the voice in my head and continue. After the session was complete, I felt so good. Thus, I began to rewire mind with positive thoughts and felt authentically happy with myself.
Furthermore, after returning home from Kenya, I started to celebrate my strengths. Even when I felt like I have not done enough, I began listing all of the hardships I overcame, all the goals I have accomplished, and all of the connections I have made. During our last night in Kenya, the group and I were asked to sit in a circle and close our eyes. Once we were seated, our facilitators went around the circle and selected a few of us to stand in the middle of the circle. After being selected, our facilitators read off statements like “touch someone who has inspired you,” and those who were standing would go around the circle to touch those who have inspired them etc. During this moment, I started to realize the impact I have made on people’s lives. I have never cried so much in my life and at this point, I began to fall deeply in love with myself. Back at home, we do not often hear our friends or family members tell us the impact we have made on their lives. With this activity, I became more aware of myself and the things that I do.
Additionally, beginning to realize who I surround myself with became vital. I started to question those around me, especially those who reinforce negativity. After leaving Kenya, I have never felt so positive and at peace with myself. I wanted to continue the momentum but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy once I settled back at home. Thus, I began to distance myself from those who brought me down and talk negatively. With work, school, and everything in-between, I realized this was my time to really let go of those who no longer serve me well. I now surround myself with those who accept and believe in me, as well as like-minded individuals who empower, inspire and thrive. With this in mind, I have never felt any happier.
Lastly, dwelling on the past and regrets prevented me from practicing self acceptance and feeling authentically happy. The most difficult part of this journey was learning to forgive myself and move forward. You may believe that forgiving those who have hurt you is difficult, however, forgiving yourself is even more challenging. It takes courage. After my dad passed away two years ago, I was holding onto a string of regrets. During that time, I did not know how to move forward. I began torturing myself with thoughts in which I knew was unhealthy for me. My grip on the string eventually became looser as I started to attend yoga and meditation classes.
Although I’m still on this quest, I will tell that I am closer than I have ever been. With that, I hope you find the courage to accept and love yourself and feeling simply happy.