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The Pursuit of Happiness

By Amira Bethea

If you’re an avid reader, then you are familiar with the various conflicts such as man vs. man, man vs. nature and man vs. society. However, in our own lives, then the biggest conflict we deal with is man vs. self. Man vs. self can best be described as having conflict within yourself. This is where you begin to challenge your inner self. I know it could be for many reasons such as lack of self-love, fear of the outcome or happiness. Happiness is something that most people will never feel during their lifetime because they never chose themselves. A lot of decisions that were made in their life was due to other people or often the fear of judgment. However, we should ask ourselves at the end of the day, “Why does it even matter what people think?”

I know living in the age of social media makes many people pretend or put on a façade for likes and followers. They put on an outer shell to “mask” their true self. It may sound cliché but there is no one in this world that is like YOU. Yes, we have many people that may look like or act like us but they could never be like us. My advice to anyone struggling is to “Shine through and be you!” The reasoning behind my advice is because it took me a long and hard time to love me. When I was about 25 years old, then I stood in the mirror in my birthday suit and looked at every curve of my body. I analyzed every crease that surrounded my brown skin and I lifted up my arms and legs to ensure I engaged in every mark that was on my body. I started to think how each mark became a part of me and I smiled. Yes, most of the marks were due to a struggle that I had endured, but it reminded me of my strength. I looked at my bikini line and had a flashback of being on the table and the doctor slitting me open to introduce me to my first and second child.

In addition, it made me reflect on how far I have come. Just being the mother of two boys at the time brought me to tears. Looking at myself in the flesh with no make-up on to hide my scars or clothes to spoof up my appearance showed me my worth. It was like a moment of having to face myself with the bare naked truth and I couldn’t run. I had to stay and embody the strength that I never wanted to utilize before. The ability to face my true self made me love myself all over again. Happiness and beauty are now living in my interior and exists in my exterior space. I was worth every bit of my happiness and that started my journey of self-love and self-discovery. Subsequently, the only person’s opinion that mattered was mine. This goes to show you that happiness and self-love are partners. You can’t love yourself if you are not happy and you can’t be happy if you don’t love yourself. No one can tell me that partnership doesn’t have to co-exist.

The only thing you have in your heart and mind at the time is fear. Will there be times that you are not happy? Yes, but if you are happy most of the time, then you will never experience resiliency. The extinction of your happiness may cause a sense of emptiness, but it will also make you stronger. The key is that you are the only one that has control over your happiness. The only way that you don’t have control over it is because you gave someone else control over your life. This should have never been an option for you because a person may know what it takes to put a smile on your face. However, they may never know what it takes for you to be happy. Happiness 📷

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