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There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your happiness; there’s no manual either, but there are things you do to those limiting beliefs or nagging voices that tell you that you don’t deserve to be happy. As cliche as it sounds, happiness comes from within. So what does it mean to be happy with yourself?

It means that you have to be kind when you’re at your lowest. You can’t keep beating yourself up for your shortcomings. You can’t keep going over every mistake, every setback, and every downfall and blame yourself for not knowing any better. You can’t blame yourself for learning, you can’t blame yourself for taking risks and hoping for the best.

woman facing mirror with lights

It means that you have to forgive yourself, for loving the wrong people, for taking a few wrong turns before you figured out your destination, for not being the person people expect you to be. It means living with your mistakes instead of letting them define you. It means you’re okay with not having all the answers and you’re okay with figuring things out one day at a time.

To be happy with yourself means you have to pick yourself up when people knock you down because you’re the only one who is going to live with the consequences. It means learning to love your own company, appreciating your solitude, learning to love your presence instead of finding others to fill that void. It means admitting that there is a void, but it’s not diminishing you. It means that you’re okay with not following the crowd or being on the same page. It means embracing uniqueness, embracing your journey, embracing the fact that your life may not be going as planned, but believing that God has something better for you.

Being happy with myself came after many failures: years of self-doubt and monumental efforts to release old beliefs, resentment and negative thoughts. I realized that I was my biggest critic: I hated my struggles, I wanted my life to be ‘easy’ so I could be ‘happy.’ It wasn’t until I realized that life may never be easy that I chose to change what wasn’t serving me. I realized that being my own worst enemy would only bring about more difficulties. I decided to embrace the mess, the chaos, and the confusion as I worked on changing what I could.

woman with sunflower on mouth

To be happy with yourself starts with tuning out naysayers and toxic people who belittle you or gloat over your failures or blab “I told you so” when something goes wrong. It starts with being kind to yourself as you figure things out because if you’re going to drive on this road alone, you need to trust your own senses and trust your intuition. To be happy with yourself means you need to follow your own voice.

Being happy with yourself doesn’t mean that your life is perfect and you’re perfect, it means that you’re rooting for yourself amidst the imperfections. You believe that you’re worthy of love and affection, even if no one values you enough to reinforce that belief. You know that you deserve stability and success even if you can’t see the roadmap that will get you there. It means that for every time something goes wrong, you’re capable of making it right. You know how to start over. You know how to redeem yourself. You know how to stand again after every fall.

And to me, that’s the epitome of happiness. Knowing that you might get knocked down a few times, knowing that you’ll have to face wounds and demons and childhood issues; knowing that you’ll have to face a few major challenges alone and fight many people along the way. But you’re not afraid — something tells you you’ll prevail. Something tells you you’ll be just fine. Something tells you that you’re resilient and capable of changing your narrative at any point in time.

Because you’ll never be happy if you’ve never suffered or struggled, yet found a way to pull yourself out of the darkness. You’ll never be happy with yourself if everything was handed to you and you were never tested on your character or your strength. Being happy with yourself doesn’t mean you’ll be happy all the time, but it means that you know what makes you unhappy so you avoid it. You know how to remove yourself from poisonous situations. It’s not a matter of being happy all the time, it’s a matter of relearning how to be happy when things don’t go as you hoped for.

Being happy with yourself means that you’re not looking for anything to complete you. You’re not looking for anyone to fill a void. You feel whole even if everything around you is breaking. You feel at ease knowing that you’re honest with yourself and you know who you are. You’re happy with yourself even if people aren’t happy with you.