There are dozens of different definitions of happiness. I want to add one more. Or, rather, to reflect on the famous saying of Confucius: "Happiness is when you are understood, great happiness is when you are loved, real happiness is when you love." The emphasis here is, obviously, on the last words: "True happiness is when you love." Blessed is he who has found such happiness! It really is beyond comparison!
But sometimes, when you lose the warmth and energy of the soul, the love inside you fades away. When it happens, you simply can't warm anyone else, you can't even stop your own self from freezing! This is when the "happiness of being understood" becomes so important. Or, as I would put it more clearly, happiness is when you begin to understand yourself.
A friend of mine told me about one happy day of his life. The man has everything he dreamed of: a wonderful family, a good job, a great team of colleagues, a nice house and a car. But, for some reason, at some point the feeling of happiness disappeared. He started feeling strangely disconnected from the world. The daily life turned into a boring routine, everything he ever enjoyed just lost its meaning.
Why did this happen? And how did it stop? The answers to both these questions lie in this story of a happy evening.
First, a colleague invited my friend to walk to the subway together after work and patiently waited until he finished his business. Then they had a great time talking togethert seemed like nothing special, but the conversation turned out to be warm and sincere. They parted in the subway with a smile and kind words.
After that he took a walk through the city center. My friend wandered alone, but he did not feel lonely. The warmth of a recent conversation with a colleague remained in his soul. And suddenly he found himself thinking calmly about his work, and family, and, very importantly, about himself, his own dreams, his place in this world. Usually, when he hurried home from work, he never even gave himself time to think.
Soon, all worries if his everyday life passed away. My friend was just contemplating the world around him, he was looking at the sky, at the houses, shops and the faces of people passing by. A new feeling took him - amazing feeling of freedom, flight, happiness, inner peace and strength, which he had not felt for a long time... Later that evening he cheerfully and joyfully talked to his wife on the phone, he was able to make plans again. The connection with the world had been restored.
This story of my friend may sound quite ordinary. But to me it seemed an illustration of the fact that the key to real happiness is not just being understood. It is within us, in our understanding ourselves, accepting ourselves. Only then can we really give our love, and ourselves, to other people.
Unfortunately, this conclusion is not obvious to everyone. Often in conversations you can hear something like "Love your neighbor as yourself." Moreover, many notice in this commandment of Christ only the first words "love your neighbor." They don't think about the need to love themselves. It is only recently, that some priests and psychologists have started to draw our attention to the second part of the commandment — "as you love thyself".
It seems to me that it is the full perception of the commandment of Christ that is the key to real happiness. We are truly happy when we love our neighbors - and ourselves as well.