You have likely heard the phrase, “Happiness is a choice,” before. It is a true statement that speaks to the idea of not settling for anything that does not bring us joy. If work life is unbearable, if you are not getting anywhere with your romantic partner, or if your living situation is the worst, the change from miserable to happy will only occur when you decide to seek better.
However, what I think a lot of people miss in this mantra is that because happiness is a choice, the responsibility for choosing and remaining focused on it lies within ourselves individually.
Navigating this world without being triggered is a challenge. Even if work life is peaceful and home life is equally mild, viral videos of black women being abused while onlookers film the incident with their phones still litter the social media feed. Finding positive portrayals of dark-skinned women in magazines, on television, or elsewhere often means stumbling across a few negatively stereotyped examples first.
Every other week a new headline gets published showcasing the blatant colorism that impacts all dark-skinned women everywhere but flies right over the heads of other people (giving rise to the idea that we make it all up).
If we do not diligently protect our psyches and energy from such negative messages, which can find their way into our line of sight quite easily thanks to the pervasiveness of the internet, we stand to crumble in this world. The immature response is to lash out or be angry, but those will only earn you a place even deeper into the black hole of judgment when observed by those around you.