Social work

The happiness formula 

Are you feeling unhappy?

Are you in session with a psychiatrist but find it hard coping with the days in-between?

Well, I have a homespun ‘therapy’ for all types of sadness and sicknesses.

It happens because we all want happiness. All we have to know is that we have it inside of us. It comes to us when we share it with someone else. Yes, when we give it out to someone else, by sharing their burdens and lessoning it in any way we can.

Just go out and do something for someone in trouble.

That’s all.

Go out and find something good to do for another’s life.  Help in lessening the burdens on the lives of those who don’t have a voice. They silently suffer their misfortunes.  You will find plenty of means for your own repair there. You will soon find out that there are a lot more broken up people out there. So stop weeping and wailing!

Here is my happiness theory:

As you get deeper into the process of helping others,  your own problems start melting into nothingness. You, yourself feel blessed. I mean, how? It happens because you realize how lucky you are.


Because of the prayers that come out in their hearts for you. The kind of prayers that Allah responds to! Believe me, when I responded to Sidra, I was knee deep into some work which was becoming down-right ‘impossible’ for me to accomplish. I was literally buried in several never-ending projects.

In the middle of it, I respond to this plea for help. I thought,’ as if I’m free and have no responsibilities!’ yet, I ran around for the two girls, and the wedding has already taken place. Miraculously, my mind became suddenly clear, and I found my work is also falling into place.

Their prayers?

They are working!

I agreed to help Sidra in marrying off two girls in Muzaffarabad area. They are daughters of a paralyzed woman who lost her husband and two sons in the earthquake of 2005. What touched me was the message that asked for clothes for the girls, even if they aren’t new, but are in good shape. So, my mum and I went to our cupboards, (yes, I wheeled her to her cupboard in her wheelchair,) we managed to dig out a few shirts and a suit. So, I wrote a hurried note on my Facebook page asking for any clothes.

There was no response for a few hours. I too, was busy in my own life. I had done all I could for the moment.

Soon I got messages. One student of mine,   contacted me whom I had taught interior designing and mentored in Finishing School.  She wanted to send me ten beautiful suits and accessories from Karachi. I received them the next day at 12.30 pm. I got so excited. Then, three suits arrived on my door step from Uzma. I loved the suits. So, between Sidra and myself and our friends, we had gathered about 24 suits by now – twelve suits for each bride. Sidra was busy getting the clothes altered to fit the girls, as they are very skinny. Also, she got shalwars and doputtas  for those shirts which didn’t have them.

I have a weakness, the moment I find out about an under-privileged girl getting married, I love to get her a dinner set. When I mentioned this to Sidra she said, well, why not a degcha set, as that would be more useful.  They had already received fruit sets, glasses etc. I was wondering which one to get, When Aaliya Janjua from California, USA, messaged me. She offered me a nice amount of dollars. The first thought I got was that now I could get a dinner set and pots and pans both for the girls! I got so excited that early next morning,  I dashed off to the market and got these from my  favorite shop in G-9 Markaz. Literally, the shopping was all done within an hour. Even the salesman there donated Rs. 1000 for this set. God bless him! 🙂 He said it made him feel happy to know that affluent families also give their time and efforts towards making underprivileged persons happy.

That night I was struck by how it had happened. How a humble desire to help an unknown person, ended with an amazing venture.  All within 30 hours. We ended up even having cash for the food to be offered for the wedding ceremony. As I write, the wedding ceremony would be on now.

Here you can see the two brides and their mother at the mehndi.


May Allah bring happiness to those girls. Ameen. I felt deeply happy.

It is important to realize that if you are feeling sad, or melancholy, just help in mending someone else’s broken heart … and your heart will automatically get mended. Because, you see, happiness is contagious. It is so contagious, that the magnolia tree in my lawn has started blooming as it has never bloomed in all these years! 🙂

So, in the end, thanks to all your donations, not only clothes but gifts for the bride and groom’s new home  were arranged, and food for the barat also!

There is a beautiful book called The Transformative Power of Crisis, written by Robert M. Alter with Jane Alter – a husband and wife duo who have written this amazing book – I read it many years ago. But that is more about how while going through a crisis you need to be mindful and make sure you use that crisis to improve your reaction. You need to transform yourself through the pain you experience.

When Imran Khan’s mother died from cancer; he found a way to deal with the pain of watching your loved one die,  of this deadly disease. He transformed that pain into making the Shawkat Khanum Cancer Hospitals for others.

Abdus Sattar Eidhi did the same. When his mother passed away and he realized there wasn’t a decent place where a poor person can go to, he built one of the worlds’ greatest civil services: the Edhi centers.

So it is up to you how you deal with your pain. Whether you use it to transform yourself and others or not. You have two alternatives, either you use that pain to hurt others with your fixed mindset, or you use it to feel the pain of others going through that pain? Yes, the growth mindset, as discussed in the book review of Mindset here.

So, whatever happens to you, forget it. Just go out and help others.  In this process your own sadness will miraculously vanish. In fact, you will realize your own so called sadness was ‘peanuts’!

Stay happily blessed my Reader!

Note: Of course, I shared it all on my stories on my Instagram. So, I’m sharing some of these here too! Photographs of event (bride, mother and food)  taken by Sidra who went all the way to attend the function. Photographs of Magnolia tree and indoor flowers by author. Photographs of Shawkat Khanum hospital and Edhi from internet, with thanks.



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  1. Awais Khan says:

    Loved reading this piece. It is so nice to see that good people like you exist in this world. You went to so much trouble to get all the dinner sets and yet, I can understand why that would make you happy. There is a different kind of peace in doing something for someone. It may be a small act of kindness from us, but it could mean the world to them. It just brings so much into perspective.

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      Dear Awais Khan,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean the world to me. More so, coming from such an internationally published and acclaimed author! I’m still looking forward to your novel writing workshop.
      Stay blessed.

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