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A mother’s wisdom

With little steps, we can find happiness within ourselves.
| Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Being happy is the desired state for most of us, yet it remains to be fulfilled as we are possibly not making an effort daily.

“Feeling better?” my late mother would ask me after giving attention to my pains and aches. If I replied in the negative, she would say, “That’s not true. Maybe it is just 10% better, otherwise there is no point in my sitting with you.” I would smile, agree, and my journey to being a bit happier would start. My mother seeded the concept of my “ATM for Happiness”.

I feel true happiness is intricately linked to our internal responses and reactions to external circumstances and context. How we react to situations defines our happiness quotient to manage the daily stressors of life. When nothing else works, I simply say a thank you prayer with faith and, that moment, there is a bit of change. “ATM for Happiness” delves into the intricacies of finding joy within ourselves.

Often, we see people with limited material wealth finding happiness and contentment. In this world of disparity, a tiny bit of chocolate could mean the world to someone whereas another could be unhappy about it not being a limited-edition Swiss chocolate.

My mother taught us to enjoy the simplicity of daily life and not seek happiness from worldly possessions. Dedicating time to work and earning a living are very important as a basic income and meaningful use of time are important. My mother would say, “Do not sit idle to allow the demons to take over your mind.” She encouraged us to prioritise good health and wisdom if we wanted to enjoy wealth.

I advocate for cherishing moments of joy, urging individuals to embrace and capture these fleeting instances fully. For instance, the time spent with loved ones is invaluable. We often take our near and dear ones for granted – it is better to care for and love people when they are there, rather than crying once they are dead. Time spent in nature, expressing gratitude and sharing with others also helps us.

In a world where loneliness seems to be an escalating concern, I feel practising kindness is a powerful remedy. At times, overcommitting to work can lead to burnout. Instead, I encourage individuals to foster deeper social connections and avoid becoming victims of their routines or comfort zones.

We must strive to cultivate groups where mutual respect and love prevail even after heated arguments. Whether it is a morning walk group, an office tea group, or a weekend social service group, these are examples of how one can extend the social circle. When I started taking an interest in the lives of others, I made deeper conversations and connections.

Here, I present the principles of the “ATM for Happiness”.

Acceptance versus Expectation: Embrace acceptance over expectations, choosing to align with reality rather than fixating on specific outcomes. Keeping assumptions at a minimum allows for a more grounded and peaceful existence.

Take charge: I advocate for taking control of one’s thoughts, finances, and digital devices. This empowerment enables individuals to make informed decisions and strive for personal balance. Keeping commitments is emphasised as a key aspect of this self-directed approach.

Make the most of what you already have: I advise optimising existing resources to their fullest potential to extract maximum advantage and satisfaction. By doing one’s best with what is available, individuals can cultivate a sense of fulfilment and gratitude.

Scheduling downtime to disconnect from mobile devices and other distractions is incredibly valuable, allowing us to dedicate time to ourselves. Finding joy with family members and within the community can be like a soothing balm we often need. Personally, the highlight of my weekends is enjoying a cup of tea with my parents, children, and extended family every Sunday. It is a cherished tradition where there is no pressure on anyone; each person contributes in their own way, and we ensure that everyone leaves without carrying any emotional baggage.

Self-care is crucial. My mother often said, “You do what is good for you and let others do what is good for them.” For me, it is simply a daily ritual of helping myself and others in small ways, without expecting anything in return. Sharing candy, smelling a rose, watching a one-minute clip of old films, talking to my loved ones, or just having a cup of tea helps me distract myself easily from worries. These little actions ensure that the half-full glass of happiness is quickly refilled. Happiness booster shots become part of life with regular practice.

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