A few years ago, I embarked on a personal journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. I needed to find my individuality – and with it, inner peace and everything else motivational authors/speakers say lead to true happiness.
I didn’t know what to expect; at that point, all I knew was that I was ready to take complete charge of my happiness. I needed to figure out what that meant to me first before even identifying which areas of my life I needed to work on.
Not that I was miserable or anything; I just knew there was more happiness out there to find for myself. But it wasn’t too long before I identified that as my first mistake: thinking that my happiness is somewhere out there for me to find.
The most valuable lesson I learned on this journey is that we don’t need anybody or anything to be happy.
Often, we go through life, searching for happiness outside ourselves – being oblivious to the fact that we are the only ones who can give ourselves the happiness we search for.
If you think about it, everything we do in our lifetime – whether or not we realise it – is because we ultimately crave for happiness.
Subconsciously, every relationship, purchase, career move and any type of commitment to anybody or anything stems from our inborn need to be happy. What a few have realised, however, is that you don’t need anybody else to make and keep you happy because nobody else truly knows what that entails.
My husband has this analogy about looking for happiness outside yourself; it’s like looking for your keys when you have them in your hand. Switching them from one hand to the other, hoping to find it somewhere in the house when you have it all along.
As social creatures, of course, others can contribute to our sense of fulfilment with laughs and smiles, but what about days when they can’t? When they are unable to, know and need that dose of happiness too?
Although not all will admit it, everybody has problems. So, when people are going through their stuff, there is no room to make your happiness a priority. Let’s not even talk about temporary happiness stemming from material things. It only lasts for a short time. And as soon as the novelty wears off, we set our eyes on the next must-have, falling for the same trap over and over again. Not to mention the economic barriers this presents.
We relinquish our power by allowing people and material things to control how we feel, subsequently losing control of our lives.
Living like that, we stay searching from one person to the next – one object to another. As soon as we think we have it, it disappears again. We are each responsible for our happiness: defining, finding and holding on to it. Only then we can truly give the best of ourselves to those in our lives.
You can’t make yourself happy if you don’t know what that is. Do some introspection: what brings you joy and what steals it away? The answer to those questions is where your happiness lies.
• Paula Christoph’s column concentrates on positive and inspirational write-up’s every second Friday in the New Era newspaper.