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  • Vlada Zapesotsky

Paving the road to my own True Happiness

How I wish for a carefree, fluttering, easy, sparkling, radiant happiness! I wish to be filled with this easy happiness, like the one I often see in the movies—a happiness for which one does not have to work hard.

My happiness has never been easy and instant—it is my journey. A light journey, full of incredible emotions, discoveries, joys, and pleasant surprises. Yet, it is a journey that was never easy, in the sense that my happiness has always been associated with hard work. The hard part was not the work itself but the responsibility that I always felt on this road. Somehow, from the very young age, I knew that my happiness is my responsibility only. My road to happiness always demanded meaningfulness, profoundness, conscious choices, attention, and care.

I always loved to think about everything, to ponder and follow my own train of thoughts in order to find the answer that is true and right for me. It was a pleasure I allowed myself, including to think about happiness. Many times, I heard the phrase (so loved by the Russian intellectuals) that only fools can truly be happy—an intelligent man cannot be happy for he sees all the imperfections of this world. I saw this imperfections too—in myself, in others, in the world—and many times it saddened me. This is not to say that I did not enjoy life at all; I enjoyed many things in it. But I struggled to feel this easy, effortless happiness that I have heard people talk about. I began to ask myself: Is it that I do not know how to be happy in the first place? Is it that I am not appreciating what I have at this moment? Is it that my eternal desire to move forward does not allow me to be happy right here, right now? Or is it the fact that my perception of happiness is different from how people around me see it?

For me, it is extremely important to answer my inner questions honestly and find the truth, no matter how hard it is or how much time it would take. That is why I began exploring my inner space dedicated to happiness and here is what I found. If I could assign a genre to the inner story of my life, it would be a psychological drama. A story with a happy ending, uplifting, full of light, with a feeling of gratitude and wonder—but a drama, nevertheless. I appreciate this clear depth and meaningfulness of mine; I love my sad melodies and dramatic plots. I know that in every one of my stories, the end will always be happy, and I will see the light at the end.

At some point, I came across an extraordinary phrase, penned by a great scientist who had been exploring the topic of happiness for many years: “Happiness is not pleasure, because pleasure is short; happiness is the joy one feels on the way to realizing his or her own potential.” Such a feeling of happiness is familiar to me. I know the joy from making discoveries on my way (experienced in many different roles: a woman, a friend, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a therapist, etc.). I know this feeling of happiness when my inner plot reached a new, more profound level.

I realized that for many years, I apologized to others, or more importantly, to myself about my way of being happy and let myself think that this happiness of mine is not good enough, not happy enough. I think it is because ever since I was a child, I have heard so many phrases, laws, and convictions about what happiness is, what it should look like, and how it should manifest itself. Everyone had an opinion on the subject, on how one should strive to achieve this joy.

Today, people have flooded even the virtual space with their recipes for happiness and methods for achieving it. It causes contradictions. It makes one doubt oneself and be unhappy in his or her own unique happiness. But is it possible to measure happiness and fit it into a single correct formula or recipe? Happiness is built on perceptions, feelings, thoughts, on that unique inner story that each one of us lives through. Hence, happiness is completely unique, composed of personal colors, smells, flavors, sounds, and impressions.

After so many years of self-doubts, I was able to recognize my own true way of happiness. I found that inside my Inner Home there is much happiness after all. It lives there, regardless of whether I define it as such. It is like the sun that shines on me every day, regardless of what I think of it or how others perceive it.

This feeling of a true happiness cannot be imposed on me by someone. My thoughts cannot be labeled by somebody´s words, positive or negative. Only I can know what brings me to my happiness; what moments, feelings, and colors comprise my road of happiness. It does not matter what my expressions of happiness look like—are they quiet or loud; performed in a comedy genre or as a drama; are they easy and light or deep and significant. The important thing is that they are true to me, they express my feeling of happiness throughout my journey.

The moment that I value my true happiness, it can show in my Inner Home in all its glory. It is not always reflected in my broad smile or loud laughter. Sometimes, it can be seen in my gleeful excitement, lively eyes, how I look at the world around me. It reveals itself in my faith and gratitude for this world; in how much I appreciate and treasure every minute of my life, and how I fill it with meaning, truly close relationships, and love. I simply follow the interesting, profound story unfolding inside me—and, at the same time, I am very happy.

My true happiness lights my way and warms my Inner Home, filling it with a natural happy glow. By accepting and acknowledging its natural way, I am finally able to say to myself, “God, I am so happy!”

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