John 20:19. In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side.”
She looked at me and said “Mustapha, I need your help. I have this great job, but I am not happy. I have a loving husband, but I am not happy. I have a fantastic car, but I am not happy. I have a one square mile land in the village, farm where we have planted trees and another part we have about 1,200 cows, but I am not happy. As you can see, money is not my problem, but I am not happy. I want you to help me learn how to be happy?”
I looked at her. She looked at me. I said, “hold on, let me bring you some water to drink.” Someone who uses the word “I am not happy about four times in one sentence needs to first cool off.
Ok, tell me, why are you not happy and what prompted you to meet me today?
“You see, my sister. She has it all. Everything I have, she has. When my employer paid for my scholarship at Harvard Business School, under their Executive Education program, value creation through effective leadership, I was excited. I informed my father only to tell me that ‘the name of your course sounds like what your younger sister has just completed’. And indeed, when I asked her about it, she sent to me via WhatsApp the picture of the certificate of completion. I just lost interest in the course altogether.”
When someone opens to you like this it is a sign of trust and friendship. Indeed, I try to keep the identity and specifics of my friends confidential. But many of them read this article and allow me to share such experiences as they could be of help to you. I am blessed to have many professionals and executives that trust me as their career accountability partner and someone they can talk to get something off their chest. If you are a frequent traveler, you must have noticed that many buildings in some developed countries have got a help line on their lifts that read “In case you want to commit suicide, call this number.” The ability to have someone you can confide in with personal challenges is critical.
I asked her “why do you feel that way? How come your sister’s success affects your happiness? Tell me about how you grew up and what challenges did you experience?”
She started sobbing, as she talked about the struggles in her childhood, the privileges her sister had and how they are of same father, different mothers. The more she talked, it became clear that many people are not happy because they believe wrongly that they can only be successful if others are poor or doing badly. It is like saying, ‘it is ok to sleep hungry if everyone is sleeping hungry.’ It should not be like this. Run your own journey. Focus on your own happiness. Be contented with what you have.
There will always be a better house. There will always be more knowledgeable. There will always be someone with a better car. Don’t live your life based on how others live theirs. Focus on supporting your Church, in any little way you can. Helping neighbors in any little way you can. Paying for someone’s school fees without any expectation. There is so much great feeling when you do a favor to someone and they say thank you from the heart. Imagine over 10 people praying for you every day because of the help you give them?
The Easter season teaches us to be humble. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for all of us by paying the ultimate price – death at a very young age. He died for us to be better. Who are you sacrificing for? What are you sacrificing?
Avoid comparing yourself to others. You will never be contented. Life is too short to live it that way.
Bernabas M. Mugisa, Mr. Strategy, helps plant the seed of transformation. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com/ to contribute to Mustapha’s new book, MagneticLove Secrets. Your opportunity to contribute to better marriages.