The Struggle for Happiness

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

― Dalai Lama XIV


Photo from

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I decided to write about something I have always longed for. Actually, it’s probably something every one of us seeks to have in our lives- happiness.

As a child, my parents taught me that I should always do whatever made me happy, as long as it did not hurt others. For them, my happiness was the most important thing in the world. As long as I had a smile on my face, they were happy.

And while they made sure that I had everything I wanted and needed in life, they also taught me some very important life lessons. One of the most important things I learned from them was to value and cherish everything that I was lucky enough to have – even the little things. But more importantly, they taught me to share all my little joys with others. They taught me the importance of making others happy, just as how they have always made me happy.

However, as I grew older, it was no longer as easy for me to feel the same. Instead of counting my blessings, I often complained. I knew these struggles were very much a part of life. But I kept complaining, always angry that they made my life much more difficult that I already thought it was. I guess, in a way, I failed to look at the positive side of things. I failed to see the value of all these things in my life. I was no longer the little girl who looked at life through simple, hopeful eyes. I became this miserable person because I was struggling. I was struggling to be happy again. And it was difficult.

My perspective, however, soon changed. One Sunday morning, while watching ‘Ellen,’ I had an epiphany. I was watching on television a woman who had been through a lot in life- from having to drop out of college, to being sexually abused by her father, to being rejected and discriminated upon solely for being different.

And yet, she was happy.

She wanted to be happy and she wanted others to be happy, as well, and so she did. She got to this place of happiness because despite of hitting rock bottom, she quickly rose from the ashes. This was when I finally realized that I am the only one in charge of my own happiness.

I know now that it is in my hands to be happy or miserable. I have decided to live a life where I am truly happy, not just reasonably happy. I choose to be happy because I deserve to be happy, just like every other human being in the world. I have accepted the fact that we are and we will always be struggling beings. However, it is we who get to decide how we are going to look at these struggles in life and I have decided to look at them as challenges. They aren’t burdens, but opportunities for growth and maturity.

I choose to be happy because I know that God wants all His children to be happy. I know that it is only by bringing light into my own life will I be able to light up other peoples’ lives. For me, true happiness lies in seeing people finally weathering a storm and seeing their own rainbows appearing.

Finally, I choose to be happy because I can.


By Bhawana Daswani, a full time intern at the WYA Asia Pacific Office. To learn more about the regional internship program, click here