2019 was a quiet year for me in comparison to the previous. I detached myself from my social media platforms, reduced my contributions to political debates (which came naturally with my refusal to support a presidential candidate in my country who I believe to be corrupt and morally bankrupt). But sometimes quiet is progress, quiet is achievement, quiet is resourcing. The very heart of chaos is quiet. And sometimes, you need quiet to learn what you’ve unconsciously unlearned. My followers wondered if I’d lost my mojo, my passion, my fire. I haven’t. I’d just decided to keep my voice for myself, to recalibrate my priorities, to be selfish in my pursuit of happiness. Happiness of the self. True happiness. Because sometimes, the soul gets weary of giving its voice to others, of making others happy.

One of the best things you can do is listen. Listen to the self you often take for granted, the self that is masked behind your desire to please the world. That’s the self responsible for your happiness and it’s a mistake to think that anyone else is. So don’t be afraid to be alone, to face the person in the mirror, to come to terms with that person you’ve been avoiding. Make amends and then challenge her all over again to be a better version of herself, every day. Let that person be your friend and your source of fulfillment so that the sound of her breathing in the still of the day is nurturing, comforting, soothing contentment. For if self-love isn’t the canvas of personal happiness and fulfiillment, then what is?

Be selective about quality. Distance yourself from the people who add nothing positive to your life (best thing I could do for myself on any given day ). In reality, the people who have your back will be few, but travel and cultivate as many encounters as you can. See the world through the eyes of the other every once in a while. This will help you gauge what you want in your life and what you don’t. (For me the latter has always been more important).

And finally, know that life is a process and that the change you’re afraid of accepting is the growth you’re denying yourself.


  • Anna Correia De Sá is the founder of GEPAN, a non-profit operating in Guyana. Formerly a columnist on politics, social and indigenous peoples’ rights, Anna comes from a background of development cooperation, backed by expertise in human rights, climate change and political advocacy. Her role as a shaper earned her the recognition in 2019 as one of the first 25 Influential Women Leaders in her country.