Happiness is not tangible. You cannot touch it, you cannot measure it, you cannot put it in a box and keep it in a safe place. That is because happiness is a concept, a creation of the mind, something invented. I believe that happiness is up to each of us. What makes someone happy could make someone else sad . Happiness is a personal experience that belongs to us alone.
The opposite of happiness is pain, physical and emotional. But I want to focus on emotional pain. Emotionally painful experiences have endless sources; some come from childhood and some from adulthood. They come in all sizes and colors. Some create deep scars and some don’t leave scars at all. But all of them shape us to be the person that we are, depending on how we interact with them. When pain owns you, you become a victim and it is hard to move forward from that position. But when you do the opposite and own your pain, then you become the object of the experience, so it is easier to establish some distance, evaluate the situation and find solutions.
I believe that pain is an organic part of life and it is impossible to avoid. This is when creativity can play an important role. You cannot avoid painful expriences but you can re-create them, and uncover their meaning. The more creative you are, the wider range of things you will be able to do with your pain.
I was telling my daughter Natalie that each person has a pain collection, like the tear collection in my drawing. This collection is our patrimony, something valuable because it tells us a lot about life. Behind each “item” in that collection there is a lesson. I believe that it is important to treasure beautiful memories and experiences because they inspire us to keep going. But it is equally important to embrace the ugly, because ugliness helps us find and define beauty . . . and value it even more.