Philosopher Aristotle placed happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself. He believed that the motivation for our actions were around seeking happiness. It is often said that happiness is dependant on the circumstances that are around you and joy is something that comes with in. If that is the case once you have mastered joy you have made it in life.
It is my goal daily to be joyful no matter the circumstances that surround me. In my other life (married) I never thought of my own happiness. It was always about making my husband and kids happy, my in-laws , my pastors. I didn’t invest in the things that made me smile and as time went by I forgot what those things were.
Having said that my ex-husband never forced me to make that sacrifice, he on the contrary was all about serving himself. It hurt me deeply because he was meant to serve me as I served him…Not so. To be fair my children never asked me for half the sacrifices I made either. In fact I was self sacrificing all around without anybody expecting it of me. I gave up my tertiary education to help put my brothers through school, I gave up my lunch breaks without my boss saying a word. I constantly placed my very fibre on the alter…and nobody cared.
Eventually there was nothing left to give, there was nothing from myself. Everybody now expected this from me , and they kept taking whatever was left of me,like greedy vultures. And still I didn’t understand why I was so empty inside..
It was only when I visited a friend of mine, we went to buy takeouts and I decided to eat from the box instead of “dirtying her plates”. She turned to me incredulously and said “That’s what plates are made for! Why would you want to eat from a CARDBOARD box? What kind of message are you sending to the universe? I wish you would stop it…there’s no need to keep sacrificing yourself. ” I came to the realisation that making other people happy didn’t necessarily mean I have to lose myself or make myself suffer unnecessarily. This was the beginning of my journey of finding my joy. The beginning of this pilgrimage was gratitude.
Every morning for the past 3 days I wake up and thank God for the blessings in my life and what a difference it has made. I look with wonder at the world around me. Ive started to appreciate the “small things” like the air in my lungs, the feeling of the children’s arms around me, the Durban sun on my skin..how can I not be full of appreciation of the life God has given me. Which in itself is a gift. Gratitude is the key to eternal joy. No matter how bad things get there are at least 10 things we can be grateful for.