As a little girl, I learned that sharing my lunch box or lending my colour pencils to those in need should go without saying. I grew up believing that other’s happiness should be on top of my own happiness. That being perceived as kind, generous, and loving is more important than being happy.
Honestly, the more I tried to make others happy, the more frustrated I got. I got hung up over negative people, agreed to events that I didn’t feel like going, and answered some ignorant questions just because I didn’t want to be rude – and they were weighing my soul down. With every demand from others, I found so many different things that pulled me to different directions – without any single thing that pulled me towards my own happiness. You know how people always said that seeing people happy should make ourselves happy? Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.
WHY I THINK IT’S NOT SELFISH TO BE HAPPY
Many people associate being happy as being selfish – and this is one of the most pernicious myths. We as women tend to push our happiness down to the bottom of the list. We feel that it is more important to be realistic, have a great career and perfect wedding day. We care more about what appears to be nice than what is actually good for our soul.
However, little did we realise that happiness has very little thing to do with what is happening externally, and more towards what is happening internally. Our happiness has very little thing to do with how people feel. In fact, it has nothing to do with what they think – but more towards what we think: Are we content? Are we drowned in negative or positive thoughts? Are we worried all the time? Are we feeding ourselves with all the negative comments? These are the questions we can ask ourselves every time we are tempted to feel unhappy – and then, we can actually choose to put the negative thoughts aside and choose our own happiness over anything else, including other people’s happiness.
And I don’t think it is selfish to put our happiness at the very front row.
While it is always good to be nice, I still believe that women are most beautiful when they are happy. I believe that happy women are more likely to glow and radiate peace. It is when we are happy that we are more likely to help others, become aware of other people’s feelings, and be inspired to create more beautiful works in our daily life. It is when we are the happiest that we are able to share our piece of cakes to people in need and less preoccupied with our own personal problems.
I have realised that the moment I let go of the need to take care of other people’s happiness – is the moment I can take care of myself. And only when I can take care of myself, I can actually be happy. When I am happy, I become kinder, wiser, and loving.
Being happy is also contagious. When we feel happy and content, we can actually affect the people surround us to feel the same way. Our positive energy will spread and the mood will change. Only when we are happy, we can put aside other people’s negative energy, and bring our own sunshine – and without us realising it, we have influenced people to feel happy.
To my dear sisters, it is always good if you want to make other people happy. But please remember that it doesn’t work outside-to-inside; but rather inside-to-outside. I hope my two cents can remind you to take your happiness took the back seat and can prioritise it on your daily life. Take a good care of yourself first, because just then, you are able to take care of others. Go book that plane ticket. Pursue your passion. Tell people that you love them. Don’t answer the questions you don’t want to answer. Say no to the parties that you hesitate to attend. Buy yourself presents from time to time. Pamper yourself. Put yourself as a priority. Make yourself feel loved – especially by you.
Photo by Mr. Hendra Kusuma
Outfit by Yefta Gunawan
Make-up by Mimi Kwok