Not Happiness. No to Pain: How Decision Making Led me to a Better Life

This just in ya’ll. Hot, straight off the dome, so bare with me. I battle with depression, and quite frankly for as long as I can remember I had never been happy. I had a light energy, but peace and happiness within was not always present. I, did, want consistent happiness. Plus, the American dream declares we all have the right to strive for happiness. The whole notion is in one of those old documents. All men (patriarchal bastards) have the unalienable right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, or something like that. Today, however, I decided I don’t want happiness, but I do choose peace, life, and joy.

Choose– verb|pick out or select (someone or something) as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives.


Currently, I am chilling at a pool in Houston, Texas on a Monday afternoon. I had never been here, but I am here today because I had the opportunity to present some educational practices at a conference. I am stoked. I had all expenses paid for my trip–the flight, the Marriott Marquis and everything. I am so grateful. Yet, as I reflect on current blessing, I feel these feelings that are quite unfamiliar, so I seek within to gain  understanding. It feels like inner peace, positive vibes, and happiness. My next thought is of the last time I felt these feelings all in the same. Unfortunately, I could not think of a time when I actually felt this concoction of emotions. I allowed the resentment I had from being mistreated, overanalyzing, needing to be in control all the time, and self-pity hinder me from feeling peace I knew was available. I realized, then, the feeling was peace and joy, and I had been feeling it for quite some time. But how did I get here? What changes did I make in my mindset to assume this joy. It was simple: I forgave, relinquished worry for things I cannot control, released, and decided to enjoy what my life has to offer. In a nutshell, I had to make a real decision to choose peace and joy.

Break it Down, B

Life, especially as a young adult, can be extremely overwhelming. Folks are expecting you to show up for work and pay bills. You are also required, on your own time, to secure mental health, fun, peace, personal security, and well a life. This can be a lot to balance. It is especially not as easy when there are barriers which seem to hold you back at every turn. These barriers can be personal, political, emotional, fuck boys, lack of clarity and purpose, disappointment, or shame. The list can literally go on forever.

Nonetheless, joy, according to an old friend, is the unwavering feeling of peace and serenity, and positive energy.  Joy trumps happiness every single time because joy is unconditional. Whereas, happiness is solely dependent upon something good happening. The issue with depending on things happening is shit may never happen. My hair may never grow. I may never get a man. I may never like my big toe. I may never get over how my father/mother/aunt/colonel Sanders was never there. Despite the hold for these happenstances, life still goes on, and so we must choose to have inner peace, joy, and security within ourselves.

Well, Damn, B, How do I do this?

I don’t have all the answers. I can only share what I did in order to achieve this joy.

  1. I decided.
  2. I put my decisions on paper.
  3. I stay committed to my choices.

Check out the worksheet below:
I Choose Worksheet

So far, so good. I found out I had a lump in my uterus. The doctors are still working to figure out what all this is, but I still have joy. I still feel good. Even this situation will not keep me from feeling peace. The thing is what defeats us is our mindsets. When things go wrong, or when people hurt us, we have a tendency to linger in those feelings. Yet, even the tendency is a decision. In the same capacity you decide to wallow in negative emotions, you can also choose to live in peace, joy, and prosperity. Once you choose to change your mindset, your actions will follow.(Psalm 30: 5-6) Before you know it, you’ll find yourself on the wave of peace, sipping a margarita on a Monday afternoon in a place you have never been realizing for the first time in your life you truly enjoy the life you have worked your ass off to build while throwing the bullshit you have been through to the Houston wind.

Pay Homage:

(I choose) to be authentic in everything (I do)
My past don’t dictate who (I am)
(I choose)

–India Arie


  1. Every action begins with a decision.
  2. Every day you get to breath you can begin again–shout out to God.
  3. Joy trumps Happiness every time.

Be light. Work your talents. Together we can spark a light Pandemic.

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