Taking charge of our happiness a worthy pursuit
We need to love ourselves
According to the World Happiness Report 2021, which is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness, SA was ranked the sixth-happiest country in Africa. Out of the survey’s total of 149 countries, SA came out at number 103. The survey ranks each country based on how happy its citizens perceive themselves to be, relying on indicators such as negative and positive emotions, as well as life evaluations.
“I grew up a pastor’s kid so I sought validation from church people a lot. One time I couldn’t decide what I wanted to wear to a church event. My mother asked me why it was so hard for me to decide and I was unable to give a straight answer. From then onwards, I knew I needed to make myself happy and that my happiness mattered too.”
These are the words of 25-year-old Mosa Msibi, who now lives her life with the intention to take charge of her own happiness.
The journey towards cultivating her happiness and filling her own cup has not always been easy, but it has been worth it. Msibi had previously felt the need to make other people happy, paying very little attention to her own happiness. After realising the value of her own happiness in her early teenage years, Msibi has been intentional about taking charge of her happiness and not expecting validation from the next person to be content.
“In the past, it was very important for somebody else to tell me that my outfit looked nice. Only then would I believe that I looked nice because somebody said so. Now I’m much more intentional about my happiness as an adult.”
Though life may not always seem pleasant and difficult circumstances may come our way, happiness is important. All of us, in some way or another, would like to be happy. And while happiness may look slightly different for each person, it is valued and needed by everyone regardless of culture or creed.
How we choose to tap into our happiness matters. Too often we look outside ourselves in an attempt to find happiness. We look to the people and things around us to fill our cup. However, the truth is that happiness is a decision that comes from within. In this moment, we can decide to be intentionally happy.
Msibi admits that her decision to live fully, intentionally and happily has been life-changing and rewarding, even though life is not always roses and rainbows.
“I’ve gained freedom. It also put me in a place of gratitude. I started seeking happiness because I was aware that I was enough and there is enough happiness to go around. There is abundance in the world anyway.”
Remaining grateful for the people in her life who contribute to her happiness, Msibi is aware that her happiness is nobody’s responsibility but her own. She continues to be intentional about filling her cup and taking charge of her own happiness by tapping into little pockets of joy.
“Currently I’m learning macramé. The process of just having wool and creating with it has been fulfilling. I’ve also been very consistent with yoga and I’m very fascinated with what my body can do. So, that’s another way I’ve shown myself self-love and taken charge of my happiness.”
According to author and wellness coach Phemelo Segoe, happiness goes hand in hand with freedom and taking charge of our own happiness is a worthy pursuit.
“Happiness is living life on your terms as far as possible. Most importantly, it is freedom. When we are in charge of our own happiness, we remove the opportunity to resent our loved ones for not making happiness possible for us, and that’s why it’s important.”
Though it is up to each individual to decide to be happy, Segoe warns against using self-sustaining happiness to shut out loved ones who are willing to love, help and be there for us.
“There’s no such thing as not needing people. I believe we are relational beings and we are hard-wired for connection. I don’t think you ever don’t need someone, but I think we need ourselves more. We need to love ourselves enough, so much so that our cup can overflow. That way, we can pour into those in our lives.”
Indeed, the journey towards intentional happiness may look different for every person. However, Segoe believes intentionality, mindfulness and understanding are what tie it all together.
“We need to start with understanding what brings us joy. How do you figure that out? Well, you try things. The first step, I think, to moving in the direction of your own happiness is by understanding where it lies. You need to be mindful.
“And take up hobbies. Don’t take up hobbies to be good at them. Take up hobbies to enjoy them,” she advises.
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