People generally use this argument when they see their objectives be challenged and they’re right, to a certain extent we all have the right to be happy, but not one has the right to be happy at the expense of others. If in order to be happy I’ll make another person unhappy or I’m going to affect them, then my happiness is not fair and by not being fair, it doesn’t last.’... (The right to be young, father Zezinho).

I chose this topic because of the pandemic, the mandatory lockdown, the social distancing and the events that have affected us emotionally and mentally. It’s costing us more to be happy, sometimes we  think that everything we’ve fought for hasn’t been worth it at all and we give up. Why do we feel so much pain and at the same time useless?... How can we feel happy when we think that we can’t?. There are some people that have a low self-esteem and they need someone to be happy, but if you depend on that ‘someone’ and you don’t have them at some point you will feel lost and your life being senseless, psychologists call it “codependency” and they advise that loneliness is not bad, that we have to learn how to be happy with our own company.

Borges mentioned it already in one of his works: “I’ve done the worst of all sins that a man can do: I haven’t been happy” or like Abderraman III Califa de Cordoba “There were 14 days of happiness throughout my whole life even though I had it all.” And lots of people erroneously think that happiness is about accumulating goods, possessions and success. Happiness it’s not to be looked for, it’s to be earned. Because it is not a right, but it is our duty. Happiness is not feeling either but an internal state of mind and the interpretation that we give it. don’t let that voice overpower your best memories, stop thinking that you’re not happy, because the opposite of sadness is not happiness but resilience.

Are you happy?... Do I have the right to be happy?... How can I be happy? It all starts with us and we pass it on to others, meaning one has to love oneself first to be able to love others, to be happy one needs to accept life as it is, and that’s what the Japanese concept of IKIGAI is, it means “having a purpose in life”: 1. What you love, 2. What you’re good at, 3. What the world needs and what you can get paid for. We also have to practice daily tolerance, the act of always transmitting a smile, never stop smiling, try to control negative thoughts, practice gratitude, remember all the things that you do have in your life, try to talk less and listen more, learn how to say NO in certain occasions, not be forced to do something that you don’t want to do, stop waiting for the appropriate moment or people, people who live waiting are letting their lives and happiness pass, you have to forgive and give yourself a new

opportunity to be happy; and give yourself time to reflect and meditate without being interrupted by anyone. That way you’ll be able to discover so many things about yourself that you had no idea about.

When I start reflecting about being happy, I always remember a movie that marked my life (and I guess the life of others) comes to my mind, “Life is beautiful” where the main character Guido (Roberto Benigni) for love to his son started to play a game with him where he had to earn points and the objective is to protect his happiness, his illusions, his innocence and protect him from the cruel reality they were living in, the holocaust of war. 

And it’s that being happy is how you look and accept life and how you deal with hardships and afflictions. Don’t look for ways to be happy, challenge yourself to be HAPPIER because you already are!!!!

Translation Spanish-English: Valentina Tobar