Becoming happy by making others happy

The law of happiness is as applicable as any other law of nature that produces results. If you smile at another person, the same person smiles back at you. Although, that principle does not apply in the event that the other person construes an ulterior motive. Nevertheless, a person draws happiness to himself by causing another person to be happy. As long as alive, any person can draw happiness to him/herself by causing happiness to other people.

There is truth in that not many people have access to happiness. Either they are dejected because they lost their loved ones, or the environment is exerting negative pressure on them. Imagine waking up in the morning, to find newspapers running headlines about doubled prices for basic commodities? All this, without considering the livelihood of the less privileged people. There are many factors that can cause undue stress.

The most valuable commodities come from those making a positive difference in other people’s lives. Such people are few in numbers, but high on demand. The more they impact other people’s lives, the more they generate happiness for themselves. If anyone knows of any person who is truly happy in this world, the secret is in creating happiness for other people.

Comedians could be the happiest people in this world. I have never seen a comedian who looks dejected and messed up. Even during the hardest of conditions, comedians remain in their happy mood. The only reason is that comedians are in the business of making people happy.

The general error among most humans has always been the assumption that one needs to be happy before making other people happy. The more such people pursue happiness in that manner, the more asunder they deviate from the state of happiness. Anyone can get anything from anyone, as long as making the person owning what is required, happy.

A classic example, describing this reality is in romance. A loving husband does not demand sex from his wife, before attending to her needs. He knows that the blissful engagement with her requires going out of his way to please her. She may simply like to be told that she looks beautiful.

It goes without saying, that women are, particularly, good at manipulating their husbands, using this technique. Rarely do men fail to provide for their women. The trick is in that, before advancing their requests, women know how and when to make men happy.

If a woman wants expensive attire, she knows the appropriate timing to achieve it. She does whatever it takes to make the man happy, before bringing her satirical request. An inviting smile could be what the man needs to be happy, leading to the consideration of the wife’s congenial request.

This describes the laws of nature, covering all aspects of activities in livingness. A good car that makes someone happy, is pegged with a price that makes the seller willing to part with it. The obscure dealings are those where buyers are allowed to take the commodity, before paying in full.

Driving that beautiful car before fully paying, does not make the buyer happy, until having paid for it, in full. Such an arrangement also leaves the seller uncomfortable, on matters of security. The law of happiness demands making another person happy before accessing happiness.

It takes only a person who would have fully paid the price of that beautiful car to realize happiness. Yet at the same time, the seller becomes happy, having made a sell. We see a clear principle where a seller made an effort, availing a beautiful car to someone in need of it, who then paid handsomely.

One can be spoiled by huge sums of cash, without exchanging anything in return. However, the receiver cannot be as happy as the benefactor. The person who receives feels indebted to the giver. The act of gratitude is an attempt to fill the yawning gap against the required level of happiness. Otherwise, there would be no happiness in receiving more than would be necessary to obtain happiness.

Pampering one’s children with gifts, cannot be regarded as what makes those children happy. The only way to make children happy is to create some home errands, through which they can feel as contributing something to the family. Children enjoy that, especially if parents display an appreciation of what they do.

The only way to make children unhappy is to keep them in a state of being beneficiaries all the time. Coupled with providing goodies, one can keep telling those children that he loves them. But that is exactly what leads them to apathy. Don’t be surprised when those children get involved in drugs or some other out-ethical conduct. While happy to provide for their needs, the benevolent parent receives negative results.

If privileged to have large sums of money, a loving parent involves his children, personally, visiting orphanages and other charitable organizations. That also enables such children to create friendships with the less privileged people. It gives them opportunities to make other people happy. That presents them with the only moments for their realization of true happiness.

Ordinarily, people cherish reciprocating for good things done and retaliate for bad things done. However, that behaviour, even though justifiable, does not lead to happiness. Jesus left a datum, appearing as not understood by many. It involves doing the opposite of what the other person does to one.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV).

There is no one who could beat a person like that, in terms of the accumulated state of happiness. I have never seen a vengeful person who is happy. The truth is that it is impossible for a vengeful person to be happy. In my life experiences, I have observed that my own happiness is sustained in not holding grudges against anyone.

Driving on the streets of Harare, on a Monday morning, can be very frustrating. The congestion would be unbelievably jammed. People would be busy, but without anything to show for their busyness. The unhappy ones are those who curse at every bad driving. But the happy ones are those maintaining their cool.

A person who loves his enemy can easily turn that enemy into a wonderful friend. This comprises what makes happiness achievable, to those applying the principle taught by Jesus, our Master. In real-life situations, enemies do not exist. All differences can be amicably resolved through effective communication.

In Zimbabwe, we have organizations like the Mthwakazi Republican Party. They seem to be succeeding in massaging anger, even to the international community, for the atrocities perpetrated in the early 1980s. Their passion is sustained in the belief that the Shona speakers are enemies to the Ndebele speakers.

The Gukurahundi is a bad patch of our history. But what is bad is bringing it to the fore. Bad as it was, why should Gukurahundi be rekindled in the twenty-first century? How can that bring happiness in a corruption ravaged country such as ours?

Recently, I had the privilege of communicating with the leader of the Mthwakazi Republican Party. He became willing to converse with me, only because he had heard that I was of the Ndebele origin. But he suddenly became sceptical of me, on hearing that I was resident in Harare.

I naturally discovered a man whose diet was on bitterness, rather than on happiness. Whilst understanding his reason for bitterness, he could not be persuaded to accept that happiness was unobtainable in bitterness. How possible can it be to convince a bitter man that happiness is not obtainable in bitterness?

Our conversation could not be sustainable, as he maintained his communication on viciously castigating me for being sympathetic to the Shonas. I patiently attempted to seek his understanding of what he meant by ‘Shona’ people. Typical of angry people, that answer could not be forthcoming.

However, from the tone of his voice and inferences, he regards any Shona-speaking person as being of the Shona tribe. Therefore, he could have been right, labelling me an adversary, as long as antipathetic of the Shona language. My children, having been born in Harare, are Shona-speaking. According to the MRP, they deserve rejection by their relatives in Matabeleland.

The Gukurahundi occurrence was insane. But that insanity was contagious, as having now affected the Mthwakazi Republican Party. Given the chance, the Mthwakazi Republican Party could also unleash similar atrocities as was carried out by the perpetrators of Gukurahundi.

In the event that the MRP is allowed to achieve its objectives, the insanity of Gukurahundi would be rekindled. This does not mean that it would be carried out by the initiators of Gukurahundi, necessarily. But this time, around, the perpetrators could be MRP protagonists.

But common sense makes it impossible to drive out insanity, by practising the same insanity on others. This is common sense, rather than a religious philosophy. It is a principle of mental health, rather than it ought to be regarded as a religious doctrine. The idea of revenge stems from insanity.

There is no happiness that can ever come from insanity. A person who loves his enemy can be counted on, to generate the scarce attribute of happiness. Loving one’s enemy carries a tonic effect of healing the insanity. It takes a person, free from insanity, to heal one who is insane.

There are those advocating for compensation, to alleviate the nasty experiences of Gukurahundi. However, that does not guarantee maximum happiness. Funding might be inadequate. And there is no money that can replace lost lives. A billion dollars cannot replace the void coming after the death of one’s wife or child.

How can one enjoy the value of money, fully knowing that it represents the lives of his loved ones? This is why the blood of Jesus cannot be compensated by anything, except one’s own life. This is why the golden rule is that one should do unto others what one would like others to do to him (Matthew 7:12).

Happiness is found in making other people happy. The most amazing reality in this life is that victims are at an advantage when compared with the perpetrators. However, that advantage is annulled, when advancing the idea of revenge.

A person who carries out atrocities on other people is in a pitiful condition of degradation. Such a person is the one who others should feel sorry for. The victim would be perfectly safe, as long as he would not be entertaining the idea of revenge. This was the principle highlighted by Jesus, albeit misunderstood by many people.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV).

Jesus did not say perpetrators ought to love and pray for their victims. This is because there would be no problem with the victims. It is the perpetrator who carries devastating problems. Hence, Jesus bestows the responsibility on the person who is at an advantage, to pray for the disadvantaged one.

This principle may be hard to understand, among those struggling with scourges of insanity, although scientifically true. Happiness is not achievable by hating one’s enemies. It is achievable, not only by loving, but by also praying for one’s enemies. Of course, this sounds burdensome, but, being the only route to happiness.

To those anchoring their faith on Jesus, there is no difficulty in understanding this principle. This means applying everything Jesus taught, as truthful data. The unhappiness that is projected in this life, is a result of failure to apply Jesus’s principles.  All is well for those who trust His teachings.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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