Owning My Happiness
Of late, this is a feeling that fills me with a sense of freedom. Let me explain: When on own our happiness without any burden of expectation from others, we are truly free. By that I mean, I do not accept that I own my happiness with a heavy heart, but by the lightness of being.
Trust me, it can be a very liberating feeling. A feeling so unfamiliar – but, when we start owning it, this will go on to become the most fulfilling moments of our lives. And then, it will become a habit.
Here are some reflections that have helped:
1. When we come into this world, we come alone.
But, why does alone have to a pejorative? That is because the word has been given a negative connotation by communities and societies. Civilization looks down upon solitude, and hence we spend our emotional lives being unhappy in solitude, while the truth is being with and by oneself can be exhilarating with or without people around us.
2. Nobody owes us anything.
Seriously, no-one owes us anything. Not even the relationship that is the most unconditional – that of the parent-child. What makes us so entitled to believe that our parents owe us anything – after all, have they not taken care of us when it mattered most, when we were young?
Our adult lives are our responsibility. Whatever they choose to do for us, it makes sense to accept with love, and treat it as God’s bonus. And if we can help it, let us love them and cherish them in their old age.
So, when it comes to other relationships too, why should anyone have the onus of pulling our cart? Doesn’t each one owe something to himself first? His life, his priorities? What makes us believe that others, even in the most intimate relationships are meant to be there for us always, forever, pulling our cart, neglecting theirs? Isn’t it our naivete or selfishness at some level?
Try to not make someone the beast of your “expectation burden” not only because it will disappoint you, but also because you are doing the other person great injustice – by not respecting his journey, his space, his struggles. Just as your life is important to you, theirs is to them.
I have always fancied and believed myself to be a confident, successful woman and I know this to be true. But, there are areas of my life, such as my time and money management, where I have felt – Sigh, I really wish someone lifted this burden off me! But, it hit me that no one owed me anything. No one needs to go out of the way, sacrifice their time for me.
If I am so interested, I must make the effort. I MUST. And all of a sudden, such a big burden lifted off my heart and my head.
3. We owe it to ourselves first.
Ayn Rand extols “The Virtues of Selfishness”, a revolutionary, iconoclastic collection of essays that systematically attempts to deconstruct and un-demonize selfishness. In this book, Rand rejects all forms of selflessness and offers a new concept of egoism — in ethics of rational selfishness that rejects sacrifice in all its forms.
Juxtapose it your own life – if you are concerned with yourself, does that make you immoral? Certainly not.
Be there for someone, if you wish to, but do not lead his life. And do not allow anyone to lead your life. It is yours for you to lead and take ahead.
4. People are not our projects.
The empath in you can make you want to uplift others. Stop yourself from this pointless mission of project management – of uplifting others, becoming the champion or messiah in their lives.