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My word: Take back your happiness

Readers Lounge By Christine Koech
She found her confidence and self-worth and in turn, she found freedom (Image: Shutterstock)

“Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering 'it will be happier'...” ? Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Growing up in a military family meant Marie was constantly changing schools and neighbourhoods and having to make friends all over again.

Having siblings who were years younger didn’t help. She tried to play with them, but she never really had someone to talk to. Someone to giggle and exchange secrets with, someone who would always be her friend no matter what.

And so she found herself desperate to find friendship and acceptance. Whenever she met someone new, she would go overboard to ensure the person liked her. She rarely said no and apologised often even when she wasn’t the one on the wrong.

In a large group, she would do her best to be like everyone else and did whatever it took to make them happy – even if it meant being uncomfortable the entire time. But that was OK because what made her even more uncomfortable was the feeling that someone was angry at her. She went to great lengths to avoid conflict and somehow always felt that it was her responsibility to keep other people happy.

So she always pretended to agree with everyone and thrived on the praises and kind words of her companions.

But eventually, there was no praise, no words of affirmation and appreciation. Her friends began to take her for granted. They wouldn’t even ask for favours any more. They had come to expect them. They would say mean things to her face and behind her back and leave her out of activities. They would also borrow her things and not return them. And every time, she found herself unable to speak up and tell them they had hurt her feelings.

One day, Marie realised she was exhausted. She couldn’t take it anymore. She decided that from then on, she would stand up for herself. She wasn’t going to always try to be agreeable and subservient at the cost of her happiness. Slowly, she started to say no to the things she didn’t want to do. She also took a stand on the things she believed in.

ALSO READ: Five ways humility is holding you back

Yes, she lost all her friends but she gained something she’d been longing for. She found her confidence and self-worth and in turn, she found freedom.

Christine Koech, Editor, Eve

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