My Pretty Long Road from Being Miserable to Happiness

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[dt_gap height=”30″ /]My Long and Pretty Windy Road from feeling Miserable to Happiness

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In my first year at the University of Amsterdam I participated in a research about young women and their smoking habits (yes, I know…).

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]We were a randomly chosen group, and had never met before. We were told to talk (and smoke) while being observed. Quite a pleasant research actually. We were talking about our studies, are future plans and our lives in general.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]After a while one of the researchers came in asked: “well ladies, can I ask, what are your plans for the future? Were will you be in 5 years?”

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]And the entire group of women answered: “In five years I will be happy”. The young man in his grey suit was taken aback by this unison answer and asked: “But what about jobs, relations, study, money?”

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]But we were adement and claimed that we had no control over it, but Being Happy was what we wanted.

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The dark days that once were[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

I had no clue about all the unhappy, days, weeks, months  and years that would follow shortly. The serious depressions that followed me wherever I travelled. But I had one goal. I wanted to be happy.[dt_gap height=”10″ /][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

I just did not know how to do it.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

I had psycho-therapy for years, that relieved some of the worst depression. I read every self help book that had ever been on the market. I traveled for months on end, I went clubbing in the most hip and happening places, I studied, I tried romantic love for one night or a month, I tried all kinds of therapies from Feldenkreis to some pretty unorthodox New Age stuff.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Did it work? Yes it did…A bit. Until the next wave of bitter disappointment about who I was came washing over me. Leaving me powerless against life itself.[dt_gap height=”10″ /][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The first AHA moment[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

Then there came a turning point. Just a glimpse, but still some great insight. As a single woman (really, I was not much fun to be around for more than a couple of months) I was constantly on the look out for guys to fall in love with.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Somewhere at the beginning of summer, I thought I had found a new objet d’amour. Someone convinced me that he liked me too. I persuaded a mutual friend to check it out for me.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]I was at a particular fragile state back then. I had just lost my job, my future was insecure, my mother refused to talk to me, and I felt utterly alone.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]I was waiting at home by the phone (no cell phones in the good old days) almost praying for a positive answer. And then my friend called me, and told me that my Object of Love indeed liked me…as a friend.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]I was swallowed by a black wave of dispair, it made me almost sick to my stomach. New found love would have been a wonderful escape out of my depression.  Day dreaming of being in a brand new relationship had provided me with at least a tiny way out of feeling completely miserable.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

After the phone call I could not stand being in my house anymore, and fled outside. “As long as I keep on moving, I will not feel this pain”, I thought. But then, when I entered the Albert Cuyp, the biggest market in Amsterdam, I had a light bolt moment.[dt_gap height=”10″ /][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Suddenly – between the stall with faux-leather bags
and the stall with cheap oranges –
I saw myself. [dt_gap height=”30″ /]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Roaming the streets like some mad woman, looking for any distraction to not feel the pain. And a voice somewhere deep in me spoke: “I am hurt, I really liked this guy, and him not liking me back is painful. But it hurts way more then it should. I am deeply, deeply saddened”.[dt_gap height=”10” /]

This was not the normal voice. Because that was the voice that talked to me from dust to dawn: „I don’t care, stupid guy, I hate him, I hate me, I am extremely ugly, and fat, of course nobody will ever love me, I must be the most unlovable person out there, I hate the world, I might as well be dead, nobody will miss me when I am gone, the world will be a better place without me.”[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

No, this was something completely different, and it was first time I could physically feel the pain. It washed through me like an avalanche of sorrow, cleansing all the anger and self hate. Then there was silence. Just silence.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

It was the very first time I could simply BE with my pain.[dt_gap height=”10″ /][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

A growing sense of reality towards happiness[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Wouldn’t it be great if I suddenly was happy and remained so from from that moment on? So sorry to disappoint you.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]You see, I was totally accustomed to the act of Looking Outside for Some Form of Happiness”. I would not have recognized happiness if it had bitten me in the ass. I kept on traveling, dancing, hoping, and doing stuff. Anything to fill the void.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

But I always carried a little card with me with the text: There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. I couldn’t quite figure it out what it really meant. But I knew it was true.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

Some years after the light flash on the market I ‘found’ my teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche, the writer of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying  and the founder of the international sangha Rigpa.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

The first time I sat on a cushion in the Rigpa shrine room, my eyebrows almost disappeared under my hairline. I was ready to attack. Too much silence, no way out…and those goofy, kind sangha members…really!

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]But I knew I had to be there. In a way I recognized the feeling I had had on the Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam. Being on the cushion meant that I was reassembled with my complete being.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

I just had to be WITH all the madness, the anger, the sorrow, the need for instant change.[dt_gap height=”20″ /]

NOT running away from it.[dt_gap height=”20″ /]

It took me more than 38 years to figure out that Happiness IS the Way. That The Only Way I could experience sustainable happiness was by embracing myself unconditionally and see all my monsters in their weary little eyes.[dt_gap height=”10″ /][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

[dt_gap height=”20″ /] SO…Am I some sort of Wise Saint?
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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Nowadays I remain stable happy in an unstable world. Am I some sort of Wise Saint? Ask my friends and family and they will fall over themselves with roaring laughter. Because I am nothing of the sort.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

I can be pretty angry, I’ve got a very short fuse, I want my husband to say: “Wow, you did an amazing thing, cleaning the living room, well done, you!”, I worry about a lot of things and I’ve got a lot of prejudices.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

BUT[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

I am happy, I can kindly laugh about all my mistakes, I love my life, every little aspect of it, I love my work and everybody involved in it, I think my clients are awesome and I am so proud of them.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

Even though it took me the biggest part of my life to get where I am. It was worth it. Every minute of it.[dt_gap height=”30″ /][dt_divider style=”thin” /][dt_gap height=”30″ /]

Want to know more about me? Go here and read.

If there’s anything you need, or like to know  send me a message and we have our Skype sessions (it’s on the house:-)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][dt_gap][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

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Esther de Charon

Esther de Charon de Saint Germain is the Business Doula and Soul Whisperer of brave female entrepreneurs who want success on their own terms Esther is the author of "The Wonderfully Weird Woman's Manual" a Brand Expert, certified Transformational Art Coach, Artist, Communication Consultant, Art historian, Huffington Post + Thrive Global Blogger with over 25 years experience in the field of branding, design, creativity and art. She lives with her 13-year-old son and husband on an old farm. She's also addicted to Jasmin Tea, Opera with seriously bad endings, Weird Art and Red Lipstick.