You’re only accountable for your own happiness


Do you keep track of how many people who have deliberately been mean to you in the past? I don’t do the “Cersei, Joffrey, the Hound” thing like Arya does on Game of Thrones, but there’re a few people I do remember who haven’t exactly been nice to me.

Running into these people puts you in a test. Sometimes you’re amazed at how your blood still boils in rage after all this time, as if the humiliation never went away. Other times you’re surprised at how cool you are and how time really heals all pain. I think how you react has a lot to do with how much better/worst you think they are going to think of you compared to the last time they saw you. I know it’s a little bit confusing. It has nothing to do with how much better/worst you are actually doing. It has to do with what you think they think of you. It all goes back to the desire for validation we have in our human nature.

Let’s say I am a happier person today than I was a year ago. I’m probably at the happiest as I can be. I live a stress free life. I love and find meaning in what I do. As a person who always says happiness is more important than anything, more so than money, status, and things alike, I really should feel very satisfied as I’m genuinely happy.

One day I ran into my nemesis from high school who used to terrorize me. She was now a trophy wife of an obese bald man. Her daily routine included shopping and hanging out with other women of her kind and talking about her kids. Objectively speaking, she led a life that I loathed. However, I knew she was shallow person. I knew she was gonna think I was a loser because I was not doing what she valued. I couldn’t walk into Neiman Marcus and charge just anything on my husband’s credit card without looking at the price tags like her. Somehow I’d feel a little bit inadequate even though I knew I’d not be happy doing what she did.

I never try to hide the fact that I’m the kind of person who wants to be liked. It took me a long time to come to terms that not everyone is going to like me no matter how awesome I am. Some people just don’t “click”. Some people are gonna be mean for one reason or another. When I feel inadequate like that, I need to remind myself I’m letting my insecurity consume me.

I don’t have to measure up to standards like that because they’re not even worth measuring up to. I’ve never wanted a life like that. I want to inspire people though doing what I love. Unless those people are doing exactly that, I don’t really have to feel inadequate at all. If they do, they should have been pretty awesome people to begin with. All I need is to measure up to my own standard. After all, I’m only accountable for my own happiness. Not one person in history could please everyone. Not even God because atheists don’t believe in God. Mean people would find something to pick on even if you won an Nobel Prize. Will Stephen Hawking worry about the kids who used to call him a nerd? I don’t think so.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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