My happy, amazing readers,
The time has come for me to close this wonderful chapter of my online presence and reflect on what I have achieved so far. I started this blog as part of my Multimedia Journalism class but it grew up to be something bigger…for me. It helped me learn important lessons about myself, find new friends and rediscover some old ones (: Now, I would like to invite you to walk this journey together once again by remembering some of the most memorable steps towards discovering happiness.
If you remember well, the goal that I initially set for this blog was to “discover the formula for eternal, autonomous, pure happiness” by asking as many people as possible WHAT MAKES THEM HAPPY. Throughout this journey I tried to decode the reasons behind the happiness (or unhappiness) of each of my interviewees. Although their answers to my questions varied greatly there was still a tiny, almost invisible thread that united them all. That reminded me how amazing we humans are – we all are different in so many aspects and yet when it comes to our feelings those differences tend to disappear. https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/create-your-own-happiness/
I started this experiment by interviewing Asparuh Krastev. The fact that I had known him for quite a long time resulted in me (subconsciously) directing his answers and pushing him to uncover more personal details about himself. I did not realize that until he got mad at me and refused to answer any further questions. Nevertheless, it all ended well and I eventually managed to get some personal “confessions” out of him. The thing that I was most proud of was making him admit how much he loved his cats (and dogs (: ). Most importantly, the lesson that I learned from him was that in order to be happy you need to always trust your intuition. https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/follow-your-intuition/
Then, Desislava Tarnarova taught me how I needed to appreciate the little things in life and be grateful for what I have been given. In fact, after this interview I started posing this question to all of my interviewees – “What are you grateful for?” And I got some really intriguing answers – it turned out that ALL of them were most grateful for their families. This took me one step further towards “decoding” happiness. I realized that maintaining a good and healthy relationship with your family is an essential factor towards achieving true happiness. https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/be-grateful/
What impressed me the most about Daniel Manov` s interview was the argument we had. Like most of my interviewees he listed his family as one of the things he was most grateful for. However, he went even further by claiming that one should always put the family first. I guess that most people would automatically agree with that statement, which serves to prove how little thinking they have put into it. Here (risking to sound egocentric) I dared to contradict this by insisting that you should always put YOURSELF first. And that is no egoistic at all! Think about the people you love the most –would you be happy to know that they are constantly sacrificing something in order to please you? Well, the feeling goes both ways. The golden mean here would be trying to act in a way that does not harm others as well as it does not harm you (and no, it is not as easy as it sounds). https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/ice-cream-and-puppies/
After all this seriousness going on I had a good laugh with my next three interviewees.
Petar Valkov is a delight to be around (when he is in a good mood of course). The lesson that I learned from him was that in order to be happy I need to stop trying to please everyone. Instead of constantly worrying how you might look in the eyes of others, sometimes you just need to loosen up, be yourself and be weird. For inspiration, you might want to re-watch the video with Petar and see how it`s done 🙂 https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/smile-to-a-complete-stranger-and-laugh-about-their-reaction/
My next interviewee that made me laugh even harder was my best friend from high school – Stefani Mitova. Apart from having fun remembering the good old times, we had some serious talk, too. Stefani shared with me her proven method of coping with stress and depression. When you are feeling down, she says, try to recall the happiest moment of your childhood. I have to admit I was already aware of this method, but hey, we are besties, we think alike! https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/the-child-that-will-hopefully-never-grow-up/
The culmination of all of this was Gabriela Grebenarska. Believe me this girl would crack you up, too. She is one of the most free-spirited, wild and hilarious people that I know. Her confession about mistaking goat poop for candy as a child, the video we shot and just her presence in the room made me laugh so hard that I could hardly catch my breath. On top of this, she even contributed to another lesson on my journey to happiness. Gabriela made me realize that one should never wait for the good things to happen, but instead MAKE them happen. https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/forget-the-future-carpe-diem/
Thus, the pieces of the puzzle were slowly but surely coming at their places. The only thing that I was still missing was a different perspective. I needed to interview someone who had a contrasting opinion, someone who did not consider herself happy and then find out the reason behind this condition.
And there she was – Tsvetelina Miteva – an ambitious over-achiever that was never satisfied with her results. I figured out that the reason behind her “unhappiness” was not her life, nothing that was really missing, but just her mindset. To her, it was all about competing and comparing herself to others or even to herself from the past (or what she expected to become in the future). Living under such a pressure really takes the color away from life. That is how I came to the conclusion that one needs to step out of this kind of competition and just look at the sky, “smell the roses” as they say. That`s it.https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/the-nonconformist/
“Man is unhappy because he doesn’t know he’s happy; only because of that.” Dostoevsky
In the end, after learning all these lessons about life and happiness, I just needed to stop for a moment and think.
Trust your intuition + Appreciate the little things + Get along with your family + Put yourself first – Stop trying to please everyone + Cherish your childhood memories – Don`t wait for happiness + Make it happen – Stop competing = Happiness ?
Is that it – the ultimate formula for achieving eternal, autonomous, pure happiness? Well, I guess not. But it may be a part of it. The most important thing here is to know when to stop and have a break. As my friend Lyuboslav Atanasov taught me – sometimes you just need to take it easy, relax and get immersed in an activity that makes you feel complete (a hobby if you like; such as soccer). https://reinventhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/passionate-soccer-fan-and-wine-connoisseur-could-that-be-the-same-person/
So cheers with a glass of wine… and goodbye, dear readers. I am taking a break but may be back again should I get inspired or accidently discover a component that would complete my unfinished Happiness formula.
P.S. It was a pleasure to have you as readers! Thank you for your interest and support throughout the semester!