Happiness, Part One

June 26, 2022

Anna Bernsteiner (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer

 

This interview was lightly edited for clarity and readability.

 

Money, fame and success seem to be the driving factors in our world. The older I get, the clearer it seems to be. 

A couple of days ago, while on the bus, I spotted a kid frantically pointing at something in the distance. Full of excitement, he had spotted a rainbow. Eyes wide open, he was tugging his mom’s shirt to show her and smiling like it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen. 

It made me feel incredibly joyful. 

Happiness. It is a topic that comes up sooner or later in your life and, unfortunately, is usually more of a question than it is a fact. 

How can I get there? How can I turn my life into something that I love and makes me happy?

Am I happy? Are you?

I wanna know. 

And so I started asking.

 

Vanessa lives in Vancouver with her husband and kids. She is an incredibly kind, open-minded and inspiring person who helps people all over the world with the Low Entropy Foundation that she founded back in 2015.

 

If you could do anything in life without being held back, what would you do? 

 

I kind of feel like I’m doing what I want to do. If there were no rules and limitations, I mean yeah I would go to materialistic things, like buy a piece of land and build a nice big home, a community center for people to connect, and I would probably do a lot more traveling and be able to employ a lot of people. Just this morning I was thinking, It’s difficult to really get a lot of traction if we don’t have permanent full-time people in place. So I’d hire tons of people. I’d just keep doing good work and spreading the message and getting out programs and services to as many people as possible. 

 

If you had to describe happiness in your own words, what does it look or feel like to you? 

 

Freedom, liberation, being completely open and not dragged down by insecurities, and the absence of fear. To be uninhibited. I think it comes back to the relationship with yourself and being really kind and compassionate, as well as gentle with myself. 

 

The relationship with yourself colors your whole world. How you see yourself and how you treat yourself is inevitably how you are going to perceive your reality and others. So many of us don’t like how we are or aspects of who we are, so it’s about learning to accept who we are.

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning when you are having a hard time? 

 

Commitment. When I have already made a commitment, to mostly other people, to be honest. If I commit to myself, I’m the first one to sell myself out. Other people get me out of bed. Consistently getting up at the same time and building up a routine helps.  

 

When you hear or see bad news, how do you cope with that negativity?

 

I try to see the big picture. For me, it means that we are all connected. There is so much more to reality than what meets the eye. Ultimately, the big picture for me is that this universe is a playground, it’s a school where you come to learn and grow and share what you learn with others. So when I see crime or someone hurting people, I understand they are still learning and are still in preschool. If we are further along, we can come and help them. We don’t have to condemn them for not having learned at the same speed as we have. We can help them, just like our mentors help us. So the big picture helps me to have more compassion and empathy and understanding. 

 

When do you feel happiest? 

 

When I’m with my kids, with my husband. I feel unconditional love, and that makes me happiest. It’s not too much about a place, it’s about the people I’m with. Doesn’t matter where I am. I mean the place I grew up at, sure I love it there, but if I was there alone I wouldn’t want to be there. 

 

Would you say you are happy right now? 

 

At this present moment, yes I am happy. And it fluctuates. Ask me at two in the afternoon and it might be different. 

 

What’s the missing piece when you don’t feel happy?

 

It’s so hard to name, it’s more like the thoughts I’m generating. How does it shift to negativity? I don’t know. It’s not really that something triggers me, it feels more like low energy. I’m not sure what drives the thoughts. Sometimes I’m with my family and I’m super grumpy, so it’s not them, it’s me internally. I wanna be more aware of my thoughts and feelings. It could be unhealed trauma, maybe that’s energy that’s stuck. Until I overcome it and heal it, it’s there and will trigger me. I can name it when it’s a big trigger, but the small ones are harder.

 

To let go of the past hurts, and it hurts to heal traumas. I have to accept and face those fears, and that’s a process.

 

Genuinely happy people seem to be rare. Unless it’s superficial, but there are those genuine people that you want to be around. It’s just getting there that takes work to cultivate it from within. 

 

What would you tell someone who is struggling?

 

There is beauty in diversity. We wouldn’t know happiness if we couldn’t contrast it with pain. Rather than suppressing feelings of sadness, embrace them and feel them fully. When we allow ourselves to fully feel, we allow ourselves to feel all human emotions, including happiness. Feeling happy starts with acceptance of all emotions. If you find yourself stuck in a dark emotion, ride it out knowing that “this too shall pass.” Everything is temporary, and these feelings won’t last forever. Soon you will be on the other side of this pain. And once you’re on the other side, you’ll have more empathy, compassion and understanding to share with others.

 

 

Hi, I’m Anna, I’m a student and I write blogs for Low Entropy. In my free time I like to explore new countries and cultures, try new foods, languages and meet new people, and I try to write interesting articles 🙂

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