A fourty-two-year old gentleman once told me that after some very painful personal experiences in his past he decided to live life as a chain of solely fortunate circumstances with no negativity. At first sight this sounds like a happy ending of a fairy tale. Then I started to scrutinise: Is someone who is seeking nothing but positivity could ever be able to understand the concept of profound happiness?
At a certain point every happy human being should cherish the pleasures of life and do all the things which are good for yourself. You have to be compassionate and kind to yourself, it’s always the reflection of how you treat others. And enjoy the simple pleasures of life: Starting the day with a perfectly blend coffee, drinking a glass of good wine during holidays in Italy, spending the day with your friends at the sea or buying a new pair of shoes. What pleasure is for you can be completely different for somebody else, that is clear. But then there is also the idea of seeing pleasure as the highest good in life. Like a hedonist would depict his lifelong aim; because Hedonism means to pursue pleasure and to avoid negativity. How can a life like that be?
An ancient Chinese proverb says that without suffering no one becomes saint. And I think there is truth in that. It was one of those nights with some red wine, my good friend Hosie and I had a long and honest conversation about all and sundry, when she asked me whether I would make all painful experiences in my life undone if I could. I took a pause and then I said no. Because looking back from a certain distance to what has been, the biggest progress in my life I owe to suffering, mainly because it didn’t break me but made me stronger. I am who I am because of that.
You start to know who you are, how strong you are and what you really want in life through dwelling upon negativity. Because you reflect and question the deeper meaning and the value of things. To allow suffering, to accept its ambiguity and complexity, you need courage. Courage sources from the latin word cor, which means heart. Acting with your whole heart, having the courage to be imperfect. The only thing which prevents us from acting courageously is fear. The fear of failure, the fear of not being strong enough to bear it. But what could be the alternative? Avoidance? Looking away? Is it really that simple?
Some people can be addicted to positivity, in order not to circumvent imminent negativies. Any kind of bad experience can equal the total collapse, that is why they are overlied with all-too-fleeting pleasures, which do not lead to happiness. Furthermore they are blinded by the ephemeral impact of pleasures, as a succession of their unbridled hedonism and fear of intimacy: parties, food, alcohol, changing partners, sex, clothes, cars, watches and other status symbols. Like the fourty-two-year-old gentleman, who was stuck in his life and repeating himself like a hanging vinyl record. It is also noticeable, that he was constantly putting his life in the limelight, to receive the recognition of living a good life. Apparantly he was not so sure about it, no? Or is happiness depended on instragram-likes, recognition from strangers? I doubt it. For me happiness sources from being content with yourself and reflecting your inner balance on your surroundings. True beauty sources from a happy soul. Someone who can enjoy moments of life without any distraction. No cellphone, no superficial conversations, no hiding, but being authentic. Then it can be that you only need a few things to be happy, because everything wonderful happens here and now. Whereas someone who is constantly connected to another world through the cellphone, always distracted, as a consequence of running away from any intimacy and deepness, could ever be able to be the master of enjoying the moments of time? Exaggerated activities in social media channels can be a sign of insecurities and a substitute for deeper connections. An escape of being confronted with yourself. Only insecure personalities are loud and need attention, whereas confidence and contentment are silent.
Now as I am thinking about the words of that gentleman who told me that he has decided to live life as a chain of positivity and on the other my friend Hosie’s question if I could turn back time would I make all love sickness undone, which thoughts could lead you to the path of happiness? This I can’t answer directly, but the thing I know is that you have to be able to build deeper connections so you can be happy. You need the courage to be imperfect, meaning being authentic with your whole heart. Think of yourself as someone who is worthy of connections. Everyone deserves to be happy. Because everything in life is about that. Even if that includes also negative emotions. If you want to fly high there is also the risk of falling – but falling can be the source of a better you. If you never take the risks to fly, you will only linger on the surface.
Every man is the architect of his future and some choose to abide on the latter. The truth is that in order to have a happy life you need a firm foundation, because the next storm could come anytime. It is natural to feel love sickness and to feel love. I want to feel both in order to understand their differences, their ambiguities, their worth for the progress in my life and their profundity. Men need rain to appreciate the sun, salt to appreciate the sweet, darkness to appreciate light, noise to appreciate silence, love sickness to appreciate love, sadness to appreciate happiness.
But what is happiness? It is certainly a question of imagination, an attitude, an idea of something, and a reflection of what we think of ourselves. If you are happy with yourself and think that you are worthy of connections, you will be. And then happiness can be very simple. I will give you an example. It was last year in Paris. Summer, already sundown and I was walking by my own through these picturesque streets, smoking a cigarette, music in my ears, while watching the people hanging out at the Seine. I was completely content with my life, thankful to be there, to be healthy, to have two feet that could take me to everywhere. I was nothing but enjoying the moment. You see? Happiness is a flick in the brain, an attitude. The ability to nothing but enjoy the moment, because I think that I am worthy of that. Everyone is worthy of being happy. It all starts in your head. I am thankful that I am able to see, explore and cherish all of it. I am happy, because I can smile about the little things of life and I am proud of myself that some things didn’t break me – even when I am carrying them with me. I have known suffering, defeat and struggling, which lead me to another understanding of life. Personalities don’t just happen, they grow. I have learned (and I am still learning) what is good for me and what is not, I am happy because I know that there is something like profound love, which grows bigger everyday and which for me is the ultimate sense of life, as I already said: everything in life is about connections. And you can call yourself lucky if you can share your imagination of happiness with someone who is as courageous as you to love.