Believe you deserve to be happy

Art by Anna Kapustenko.jpg“The more I observe myself, and others, the more I find universal patterns, wounds and dreams. We are unique in many ways – we´re also astonishingly similar.

One of our common wounds is the sense of UNWORTHINESS. We believe we´re not worthy of happiness.

We don´t actually say it: I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Nope. That would be easy to identify – we would notice the nonsense, the suicidal impulse and our ego would lose the battle.

We don´t say out loud – we just believe in it, and act accordingly, which is more than enough to screw us up.

Have you caught yourself feeling guilty when you´re happy? I have.

“Too happy for my own good”, I´ll whisper, fearful of what will come.

We set a Happiness Limit, seasoned with needless obstacles and drama, and we´re terrified of going beyond it. It´s a ceiling we build for ourselves – one we refuse to surpass. As if by doing it we would be defying the Gods and they would punish us as a consequence.zeus.gif

-I´m feeling too happy. Should I be worried?

Worried about what, exactly? That´s the golden question.

In grew up with amazing, yet pessimistic, parents who believe life is hard. If you ask me how I define life, in one word, I´ll answer “Adventure” without blinking. If you ask my parents, they won´t blink – we have than in common-, but they´ll start describing my concept of hell. Are you ready? Take a deep breath and dive.

Life is:

A burden;


Sacrifice and pain;

Hard work;


A series of unfortunate events nobody can, or will want to, avoid.

Their parents carried it too – the pessimistic, unworthiness, self-sabotaging bug. It gets into your genes  – it´s heritage passed on from generation to generation like blue eyes, high cholesterol or crooked noses.

Believing we don´t deserve to be happy – not beyond a comfortable, usually mediocre,  level we have set for ourselves – is an invisible trap most of us fall into. We´d rather be unhappy – remain on familiar ground, even if that ground is a mud pond infested with alligators and foul smelling frogs – than risking punishment for being happy beyond our measure. Our measure – take that in.

In theory, we want it. We may say we deserve it, write in notebooks, sing and preach. But, when we check under the carpet, we find the (ugly) truth: we fear our own greatness; we avoid annoying the gods with our arrogance, our ambition, our childish belief that the garden of heaven can exist here, right now, on the palm of our hands.

I´ve learned it the hard way: we cannot be happy if we keep feeding the belief we´re unworthy of it.  We have to grow up, literally, by paying a visit to the monster under the bed. It may be an imaginary monster but we act as it is real.

Imaginary monsters rule our lives.

Dare to go into the dark room, the one your father warned you against, and look under the bed. Don´t think too much. Just do it. Get on your knees, look.

The only thing you´ll find down there is dust. Dust, my friend. Bloody, fucking, ridiculous dust. Grab it and put it where it belongs (you know where).

You – we – deserve to be happy. It´s not a crime to experience life at its fullest.

If we´re able to receive unconceivable amounts of pain, and disappointment, we´re also able to receive unlimited happiness and pleasant surprises.

We were born to reJOYce, not to be punished.”

Excerpt from chapter of a book I´m currently writing.



What makes YOU happy? (I want to hear about it)


One of my favourite things about the technological world we live in is how CONNECTED we can be with friends, random cool strangers, students and audiences from all over the world.

Joana Saahirah´s Online Dance School is a great example of how technology can bring us closer to each other and allow for an easier transmission of knowledge.

And, now, I – the technologically challenged girl who happens to love technology –  am reaching out to YOU to know



You can answer, with a text, a photography (high resolution images, please) or both, to my email ( I´ll select a few answers to include in the book I´m currently working on: The Happiness Freak, my little book of Happiness.

If you wish to be a part of my research, and book, get your happiness juices flowing and send me your answer ASAP.


Joana Saahirah´s Happiness Project


The new year started in heaven. But heaven can easily turn into hell (don´t I know it?).

It all went down, down, down and it hasn´t picked up again ever since.

Nobody likes to talk, or write, about unhappiness. I know I don´t.

I´m a positive, moving forward, faithful person who sees every challenge as an opportunity for growth. I believe in going through pain in private, only sharing the stuff that can inspire, and empower, others. But I´m human, after all, something I tend to forget. And sharing our pain can inspire and empower others. How we go through adversity opens up possibilities for others:

-If she can do it, I can do it.

As an answer to unhappiness, I´m creating  Joana Saahirah Happiness Project, a collection of essays about happiness – what I´ve learnt, through experience, on the subject – and stuff that makes me happy. Texts, photos, references of music, movies, trips, attitudes that contribute to chronical happiness. A straightforward, simple, “writing to save my life” king of project.

This will, no doubt, annoy a lot of people:

-She should resign to her unhappines, just for a moment, and stand in front of the television, wrapped in a blanket, watching bad movies and binging on chocolate. That Turning Rocks into Diamonds thing is deeply irritating.

Well, well. As much as I´d like to, I cannot afford to do that. I have work, deadlines with different people, things to accomplish and a tool – myself – to take care of. Artists who live – exclusively – from their art cannot afford certain luxuries. Like feeding unhappiness.

Everybody has a way to grieve. Mine is connected with creativity. It has saved my life many, many times. I build palaces from the rocks life throws at me. If I´m down, I´ll dance and write about that place, no matter how dark and uncomfortable it may be.

In darkness, too, resides light. We just need to open our eyes. And Be.

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