No one likes to stay unhappy in life. But what makes us happy is a subjective matter. In a society that prioritises family life, individual happiness is often touted to be self-centred. Find happiness in making those around you happy. Bring a smile to the faces of those around you and you’ll feel their bliss infect you too, a lot of us grow up hearing such wise words from elderlies in our family. Could this conditioning be the reason why women undervalue their personal happiness in our society?
Sacrifice is a virtue that is hinged into our consciousness ever since childhood. Being daughters, sisters, wives, mothers us women are taught since childhood to be giving in every relationship that we form in life.
Don’t worry about what you get in return. Just focus on how much can you give, that too unconditionally. This is easier said than done. How many of us can keep giving to others on an emotional level, and not expect receiving affection, love or attention? Isn’t it human to want these things? To desire that your needs are tended to by those you love, just as you do for them?
And yet, so ingrained is the notion of sacrifice in our heads that even the thought of chasing personal happiness makes us uncomfortable. However, women need to stop undervaluing their happiness. While catering to the needs of other people does bring us satisfaction, our happiness matters as much as that of any other person in our house.
Besides, if women can juggle multiple duties at the home-front and work on our own, can’t they juggle seeking individual happiness with our obligations to our near ones? Alsa, this is only possible, when women don’t feel guilty about being happy on an individual level.
Pursuing a hobby, investing time in your health and mental well-being, a little me-time stolen from one’s busy schedule every now and then, a trip sans your family, or a purchase just to pamper yourself. These little-big things bring so much joy to our lives. They charge us to face the challenges that our daily lives present in front of us. Besides, seeking personal bliss brings more pleasure to the act of giving happiness to others, which may seem like a tedious responsibility otherwise.
So if you look at it from a different perspective, women’s individual happiness is invaluable, because it enables them to be better caregivers. Even if you set aside the caregiving angle, every person has the right to seek joy on a personal level, and if it is okay for one gender to do so, then it can’t be labelled as selfish for the other gender.
Which is why women need to stop undervaluing their happiness. Every smile counts, including your own. Don’t sacrifice it just for the sake of what you deem to be the greater good. Those who truly love you, always want you to be happy, and do not mind if you chase it on your own, and just for yourself.
The views expressed are the author’s own.