After Plaid published my last blog, Happiness: What Positive Psychology Tell Us, I received a wonderful email from Rona Cantu detailing the ways she took herself through a courageous process of bringing herself from an unhappy life to a life that she loves.  I spoke with Rona, who told me a bit about herself which I will share before I share the email she sent to me.

Rona is of Polynesian and Lebanese descent and was born on the island of Maui in Hawaii where she lived until she was 15 when she moved to the island of Oahu.  She met her (now ex) husband who was a tourist in Hawaii and moved to Texas and married when she was 20.  Twenty years ago she decided that she was not happy with her life and systematically went about changing it despite the resistance from her family and culture.  I am so thrilled to share Rona’s story with you in her own words:

Rona Cantu’s Story:

I was told 20 years ago by my aunt, “This is just the way life is,” meaning, life is hard and impossible to change. It bothered me and I contemplated her statement for many years. I refused to accept it.

I worked on achieving happiness in the past nine or ten years and I can honestly say I’m finally partaking of the fruits of my labor consistently, especially in the past eighteen months. I want to share with you how I did this:

I learned to be honest with myself: I asked myself what’s important to me? What brings me joy? What are my talents and gifts?

I learned to change my thinking: I needed an overhaul in my thinking and a new mindset of intentionality and authenticity. Ultimately, I made a shift from a Victim to Victor mentality.

I learned to take action: I experimented and learned what did and didn’t work. I got into performance arts and abstract painting which propelled me further into self-discovery. I found out what’s important to me.

I learned to prioritize and stabilize: I figured out my priorities, got my life in alignment and created goals for myself. I became stable emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually after I got my priorities straight. That was a breakthrough!!

I learned to crush the Fear of Breaking Boundaries of Family, Culture, and Race: The questions were raised and continue today, “Who do I fear and why do I fear this thing or that thing when I’m making decisions throughout life?” Is it in the “Who” in regard to family members, Mom/Dad, husband? Is it my religious community (fear of what religion says about divorce or about women being on their own)? Could it be fear of rejection by my family, religion, and community? I did fear rejection, shame, guilt, and negative stigma that society may put on me. I realize that fear I could crush by making decisions that were good and healthy for me. So I divorced; I worked (a job); I got an education (went to college); and eventually a career (Lockheed Martin). I bought a car without anyone’s permission. I’m working on building my credit and buying a home which I don’t need anybody’s approval for.

I learned Self-Acceptance: I allowed myself to make mistakes and receive correction with Grace along the way. I used to cover up and dress down my beauty, but now I embrace it. I’m beautiful and not afraid or ashamed to say it!!

Happiness has grown into an overflow of Joy & now Peace which is tangible to the point where I can touch and hold it in my hands and actually place this Peace on someone else’s head and shoulders.

Discover > Cultivate > Maintain > Increase > Share out of the abundance of Happiness, Joy, & Peace

Thank you,
Rona Cantu