Purely anecdotal but I do not know a lot of latinas who make their own personal happiness a priority, including myself. I got to thinking about this while listening to a podcast called Over It and On With It where life coach, Christine Hassler asked a listener whether she thinks she deserves to be happy. The listener responded with a flood of personal beliefs about happiness which including that being happy means being careless and irresponsible and selfish. When she spoke those words, I was like, “Yes, those are my beliefs too.” It clicked for me. I wish it hadn’t and I wish this is not what I believed. I know this not right or healthy but I totally identified with that listener. This does not make being happy an easy process. I resist it. I come from two immigrant parents who worked really hard for a long time. They valued hard work. I remember my mom always saying we should marry a hard worker. She didn’t say anything about a nice guy or someone who will treat us right or be faithful, it was simply, find a hard worker. And always BE a hard worker. And take care of your family and don’t you dare be selfish and you have to do what’s best for the family and not just for you. Don’t be selfish. My mom’s words have changed a lot and now she just wants us to be happy but undoing all that programming is not easy and takes time.
I read about happiness, relationships, personal development. I listen to podcasts along the same genre. I also write affirmations, exercise, do yoga, try to sleep 8 hours a night. It is working but I still have a hard time putting myself first. I have a hard time doing what is best for me and investing in myself. I now try to surround myself with people who make me happy. I make it convenient so I see these people often and keep in contact with them. But those stupid beliefs still get to me. I’ll have an amazing day spending it with people who I love, full of laughter and games and great food. But toward the end of the day, I start feeling scared and nervous like something bad is going to happen. Like this is too good to be true. I still get scared. I want to allow myself to be happy. I want to take it all in and not worry about the bad, just because things are so good.
I deserve to be happy. And I will do the things I need to do to be happy. And I will experiment and I will get things wrong and I will try again and then try something different. But remember, you deserve to be happy no matter what people told you growing up or no matter what you saw growing up. YOU deserve to be happy. Do one thing today for yourself that will make you happy. And then keep doing it. And then a month from, do a new thing that will make you happy. And then keep doing it. Fill your life with all these things/people/actions/job that make you happy and then there won’t be room for any of that negativity.