As a girl with vitiligo, I know firsthand the trials that come with living with spots. It’s an emotionally and mentally difficult reality that requires inner strength and perseverance. And when you’re faced with these challenges, happiness can seem elusiveness – or at least it can feel like something you have to work for.
So how do you find happiness as a girl with vitiligo? And what does happiness mean?
Defining happiness as a girl with vitiligo
Let’s start with defining happiness. Conscious Magazine shared a post about happiness that says, “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” And that’s the truth. Happiness is not the same as perfection and that’s a good thing – because you can’t make everything perfect. You can’t control the things around you. You can, however, control yourself and your reaction to the things around you. And that’s why happiness comes from within.
Let’s take vitiligo as an example. You can’t control that you have vitiligo. And you can’t control how the people around you react to your vitiligo. But you can control how you live with vitiligo – that’s a choice. You can choose to be happy with your life despite your spots. You can choose to smile when people stare you. You can choose to love your life with vitiligo – to be happy.
Saying goodbye to things that keep you from being happy
When I think about being happy, I immediately create a list in my mind of all the things I do or could do to build a fulfilling lifestyle. But starting your journey to happiness by adding positive habits to your life misses a crucial step. You first need to remove those things from your life that inhibit you from being truly happy.
The Everygirl’s article, “5 Breakups for a Healthier, Happier You” provides a great starting point for thinking about the things in your life that are detrimental or toxic. It makes you think about what you could remove from your life that would ultimately make you happier and healthier. What you can stop doing that will make you happier? Are there people in your life that you need to say goodbye to? Do you spend a lot of time on social media, comparing yourself others? Before you can fill your life with happiness, you need to clean out the things that hurt you.
Finding your happy place
If you search the internet for articles on how to find happiness, you’ll find countless articles on habits that make you happy. Exercise, meditate, eat healthy, spend time with friends – the list goes on. But here’s the thing – happiness doesn’t come from doing something. Walking your dog or going to the beach might make you happy, but that feeling is fleeting because it’s only circumstantial.
True happiness – lasting happiness – comes from within you. It’s about choosing to see the good things in your life and appreciate them over the challenges and tribulations. It’s the silver lining effect – seeing the good in every situation. And different habits will help create a more positive lifestyle, but they aren’t the final answer – that comes from you.
Being Happy Today
Darling Magazine’s article on “The Problem with Happy” makes a great point. You can’t wait for happiness to come to you, because happiness isn’t in the future – it’s in you. I used to think, “one day my spots will go away and I’ll be happy.” But guess what? My spots technically did go away – I’m 100% covered in vitiligo today – and I’m still not happy.
If want to be happy, you have to choose it – now, in this very moment. So what are you waiting for?
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.