Having is not owning!

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To have is not to own. You can have tons of properties but own none. You may have a fleet of cars that belong to someone else. Yes, you may. At any point in your life, you may have something that someone else owns. It is good to have… but better to own.

It rained heavily over the weekend. On one of such wet nights, most of us had taken shelter under a makeshift shade amidst the downpour. A young woman kept pacing back and forth the road. She was an umbrella seller.

Guess what. She had been overwhelmingly whipped by the rains though she was carrying a lot of umbrellas. One bystander, peeved, screamed at her to use one of the umbrellas, at least, to save her from the cold. She hurled back, “I have them… but I don’t own them!”

A clear case of having something you do not own. A perfect illustration that having doesn’t necessarily mean owning!

In life, there are many things we can have but not own. In Ghana, for instance, we have independence we don’t own. We are still dependent on the West. We have great resources but we don’t even own them because we can’t churn them into usable products without foreign interference. Having indeed is not owning.

A handkerchief seller may still sweat in traffic. It is not a mystery when a food vendor goes hungry. It’s like the caretaker of a mansion who can’t even rent the apartment out. It’s like a bank teller who counts thousands of cedis each day yet leaves home poor. You can have something you need so badly but can’t use it because you do not own it!

You can have something you have always desired, especially happiness, yet not benefit from it because you are not a master of it. You can have happiness but not own it. You can have joy but not be a master of it. You may be the happiest character on planet Earth but if you don’t own this happiness, sad to say, it may not last.

You see, happiness is an inside job which must not be outsourced to anyone. What makes us happy should be from within… not without. When looking for a reason to be happy, look within. Look at what you have and those you are yet to have. Be grateful. Focus on your uniqueness. Pay attention to you!

Selfishly love yourself. Appreciate your ups and downs. Pamper yourself. No one can love you any more than you will love yourself. Be a boss of your happiness.

Interesting to note, you may have happiness but not own it. You may be happy in one moment and overly moody in the next. You may be all excited when you enter a new relationship but return to your life of mourning when that relationship ends. That is what a life that has happiness which it doesn’t own looks like.

You are the sole determining factor of your happiness. If you own your happiness, nothing on the outside can steal it from the inside. You want to be free from others’ emotional slavery? Own your world of happiness!  

Many of us are roaming this world in search of happiness when it can be found right inside of us. We travel to distant lands in search of what can make us happy… not knowing our happiness was nearer than we could imagine. If you want to find happiness, the first place to search is inside you.

No one except our own selves can make us happy. When we assume that others may make us happy, we only end up disappointed. Assumptions and expectations always breed disappointments because no one can ever make us happy as much as we can. We must be the source of our own happiness. We must own our own happiness.

We need to have happiness. We need to own it. And… this happiness can be found inside of us. When we leave our happiness in the custody of others, they become remote controllers of this happiness, tuning its volume at their own will. Always remember that your happiness is your sole choice and decision. It should always be an inside job!

When we leave our happiness in the hands of others, they become its owners. When we become happy only because someone walked into our lives, we outsource the responsibility of our happiness to them. They become its owners and we become only caretakers.

When times are good, be happy. When they are bad, still be happy. When people help you, be happy. When they leave you in the lurch, still be happy. The determinant of your happiness should be you… and not anyone or anything around you.

Be happy not just because someone else made you feel so. Be happy because you always are anyway. Your happiness should be your decision… not another person’s. Your happiness should be a product you can use anytime of the day at your will. Have it. Own it.

Your happiness is your sole duty. Just having it is not enough. Don’t just be a caretaker of your happiness. Be its owner. Don’t live a life of rented happiness. You don’t only need to have happiness. Own it!


The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of an Accra-based writing company, Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com).


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