Quest for Happiness?

In the attempt of getting a step closer to finishing my Master degree (world peace, here I come) I need to get this of my chest. Too many thoughts in my head und unfortunately, they are all totally unrelated to the topics of my oral exam coming up!

So here is the thing, and this might be related to my studies, I don’t understand human beings. They are confusing, act counterproductive and most of the time, I don’t even like them.

And what is even worse. It is not only the others I don’t understand; I do not understand myself most of the time.

So I have been occupied, actually for quite a while now, with digging into the whole “can someone please explain to me why human beings are the way they are?” And maybe also “can someone please explain how the whole life-thing works?”
What makes us tick? And unfortunately, to answer this one needs to start with oneself. Basically, what makes me tick? Ehm… I have no idea?!

I could tell you how I get frustrated with how we treat refugees – as if they chose to suffer and to flee, how I get angry when someone who beats his/her dog, how I start crying when reading the newspaper simply not understanding why human beings would torture, be so ignorant, in self-denial, and decide who has the right to live and who has to die.

I could also tell you how I get excited when I recognize a tune in an advertisement on TV and I can relate it to the right movie, how I love to stare at the stars, how it fascinates me that Alena, my dog, just by her sheer presence makes people smile, and how I am happy when people accept my help. Oh, and I am totally a hugging person.

However, most of the time I don’t know what I am thinking and feeling. And what am I driving at in life? Being happy? The quest for happiness seems to be the most desired and yet, I am sorry to tell you, the least achievable goal in life. Not because you can’t be happy. Not because there doesn’t exist such a thing as happiness. But because happiness is finite. It is a feeling, like all the others, that passes. Here is the good news, it also comes back, but it is not an infinite state of mind and being that can be achieved and then…yes, and then you made it? Being happy = you succeeded?

Don’t get me wrong – of course, being happy is nice and feels good. And of course, I am so longing for happiness and wish for this infinite state of mind. However, when we understand our lives as the quest for happiness we will fail. Because – and I know you all have been there – there are just moments, weeks, months or even years when you just feel really, really bad and unhappy. There are too many things in life we simply cannot be happy about. Like losing a loved one, being sick, fighting with yourself… And I think it is good that we can’t simply say: oh well, I am still happy. No, we have to admit and deal with these things. And yes, this is about total discomfort. But it is so important to acknowledge these feelings of pain and despair, because there are so many things we can be sad and desperate about. And it doesn’t always have to be “either or”, either true happiness or unbearable pain. There is a spectrum and it is called life. I believe that if we make happiness our sole and highest goal we fail at life. Because we downplay and ignore everything else on this spectrum and label it as “failure”. But life comes in a variety of forms and states of mind and learning to deal with all of them, maybe that’s the real quest. And it is a never-ending and very individual one.

So, enjoy the happy moments, but do not put too much pressure on yourself to keep them alive artificially. They will come back, eventually. And in between – it is okay not to be okay; it definitely sucks, but it is okay.

Concerning human beings. Well I still don’t have an answer. I still don’t get their behavior and reactions. Sometimes they are really cruel and not only physically, but with words and gestures. I still belong to this group of idealist people believing that people actually are good and can be nice and live peacefully. Just because I don’t want to live in a world where this can’t be changed. So I decide not to turn a blind eye, I decide to still believe, I decide to try to trust and to love. And certainly, there are days when I think, this is hopeless and do we deserve to be here at all?

But then I also think that human beings are not bad. They also make decisions. They decide to deal with a situation in the best way they can, in the best manner they have learned, with the best tools they have at hand. And unfortunately, very often they can only react and behave so that it hurts others – intentionally or unintentionally. And very often to them, hurting others seems like the only, or the easiest, way to protect themselves. I am not saying, it is no one faults, just blame his or her troubling childhood – no, it is always a decision! And these decisions do not only have an impact on who we are, but also on the others. Maybe it is the harder decision to actually break away from the mechanisms and manners one has learned in order not to repeat the behavior of one’s parents, family, friends or oneself.

As to me, I make the decision to be as open and honest to myself and consequently, I am, or at least trying to be, open and honest with others. So generally, when I say „I am sorry“, I mean, I am sorry and knowing that I cannot take your pain or sorrows or whatever, I am sorry and I feel with you. When I say “I like you”, I mean, I actually really like you, just because you are who you are. When I say “I miss you”, I mean, I miss you, because even though we may write from time to time (thank you social media) I am not able to share everything, my everyday life, as much as I would like you to be part of it. And when I say “I am okay”, I mean, I feel challenged, frustrated and, above all, confused, but at the same time also carried. And I know these mixed feelings will go away eventually, they always do (until the next time). It means that I might not able to point out directly to what is going on, I might not be able to put it in words or it is just one of “these days” you feel lost and wish for this infinite happiness. But knowing and recognizing that some people simply stand with you might be enough to keep the balance.

I am okay.

Back in Vancouver we had an amazing last sunset!

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