happy-woman-and-children

Life is given but once, never to be reversed, so why not take as much advantage of it as possible? The center of one’s life is one’s own self. Sometimes we think that offering to help others and pleasing them is life, but it is not. The reality is that when you work for your own happiness, emotional serenity and health, you are indirectly doing it for others, too.

I always wanted to work and serve my family and friends. I was dedicated and had very good intentions and worked for their happiness, but I forgot about myself, my happiness, and my health. I rushed others to the doctor, even for minor checkups. I shopped for them and bought expensive gifts and even ran to restaurants for crispy, spicy snacks when they asked me to. In the meantime, there were times when I wanted someone to do these things for me, but it never happened.

Some days when I came home from work very tired I wanted a spicy burger from a takeaway, but there was no one to bring me a burger. I went to sleep hungry and no one cared. One Eid holiday, I saw a new dress I liked very much, but I ignored my wants because it was a bit expensive. But it was not as expensive as the things I bought for others. I kept on ignoring these feelings, but the thoughtlessness of my family members about my feelings was being stored in my memory. As a result I tried to ignore them the way they ignored me and I was getting annoyed by their presence. I enjoyed sitting alone in the dark. It would soothe me and I would talk to myself, dramatizing the scenes of my life when I had been neglected.  

Then one day recently, an email from a social media site arrived in my inbox. It was called “Facts to Know about the Secret of Happy Living.” It emphasized that other people’s happiness lies in one’s own happiness and it changed my thinking.

While reading it, I recognized many faults in myself, such as the thanklessness that I had shown for my own self-worth. I never wore a bright colored dress, never went to a parlor for a nice facial, manicure and pedicure. I had lost a number of my teeth with pain, I had lost my figure, a healthy diet, and above all my emotional serenity.

The understanding came to me that day that my complaining about others was because I was doing things for other people and was not thankful for my own gifts of good health, a happy life, and a serene situation that my Creator, my Allah, had given to me.

After finishing my email, I started laughing. Then I planned what to do so I could accomplish all the things that I wanted to do for myself. When I went home from the office, I hugged my kids and chatted with my family members. I put on one of my best dresses, said my prayers, and cooked a delicious meal and sang while cooking. Everyone at home noticed the change.

The next day, I made an appointment with my dentist.  It has been a month now and it seems that things that seemed impossible before are going very smoothly. I feel that after many years, I found the secret of happiness. It lies in being thankful to one’s creator for the life he has given.

We have to divide time equally for one’s self, one’s family, and one’s friends. Taking care of one’s happiness will automatically lead to others’ happiness. There is a famous proverb in our language, Jan ast tu jahan ast, which means, “if there is a self then there is a world.”

By Saifora

Photo by UK Division for International Development