Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it!
The quote above resumes one of the most important lessons in my life; every time I returned to a place, a situation, a relationship – something that didn’t work – despite the fact that I believed that I changed and that place/situation/person changed as well – was a complete failure. Trying to live again the same situation or be in the same relationship – in the name of the good old times – never worked out. It is as if the past must remain past, and once something has been brought to an end, we can’t reopen it without additional suffering.
What comes to my mind first was one of my relationships, when I returned several times, vainly trying to make that relationship work. Although there was a lot of emotional involvement from my part, and despite sustained efforts, it was like returning to a jail when you didn’t learn your lesson and you have to spend extra detention time. Over the years we both changed, but the style of the relationship or the emotional attachment remained the same, falling back each time to the same style we were used to. It took me years to understand that, no matter how much you want to change, what is meant to work will work, and what can’t work will eventually fall apart. Once you lose happiness in a relationship, you can’t regain it. Of course, I’m not talking about superficial stuff, but about structural problems, issues that were obvious from the start.
I first lost completely any form of happiness in France, when I saw that my dream of living abroad collapsed. I profoundly disliked the French language (without reason), but I had to use it in daily interactions. By contrast, the French people were always okay and I miss them a lot. I returned to my home country and then went back to France one more time. It was worse. I couldn’t even find the minute aspects I once enjoyed. Once lost, happiness couldn’t be regained. But perhaps the worst happened when I returned to my home country; it was an attempt to look for happiness in the same place I decided to leave before. I couldn’t find my place, and now, after zigzagging through 4 different cities, I still fail to find my place.
Perhaps the award for the stupidest move I ever made goes to the city where I live now – Cluj. I returned here 6 (six) times, at various moments in the past, seeking different things. This is the place where I felt extreme joy and extreme sadness, where I loved and got sad several times. It feels like an attachment issue: the city both attracts and rejects me, seeming tempting from the distance and turning me down every time I reside in it. Psychologically, this is a good example of disorganized attachment versus a place (not a person). And no matter how experienced I became over the years, how much I worked with myself, this disorganized attachment versus this place tends to persist; after a while I feel like being in a prison and fail to see opportunities around me. Unfortunately, this extends also to Romania.
I am yet to find a solution to this situation. Everything I read, all the books and training sessions I attended, couldn’t give me a hint of how to end this struggle. But after a while I learned that it is bad to return, no matter where – situation or place alike. And patiently waiting in a bad situation didn’t help either; it was suggested to me that I should be patient but no, this doesn’t help, I’m certain.
On an archetypal level, while I was protesting yesterday on the streets of Cluj against the state corruption, feeling totally disconnected yet appalled by the abuse of the political leaders against their own nation, it came to my mind that Romanians do seek happiness and fulfillment of their wishes from the same communist leaders now in democratic disguise. I mean, how stupid could you be to expect change from the same leaders (and their offspring) who ruled Romania during the 45 years of communism? How stupid can you be to expect fairness from a political clan who did nothing for this country during the last 27 years since communism fell? Aren’t we a little delusional? We lost happiness while being ruled by these post-communism politicians and now we expect from them to keep their word and we believe their promises that they can change? And we hope to be happy again, expecting a miraculous change from people who proved several times that they are not willing to change and will not? I mean, aren’t we in the same situation, failing to learn the same lesson? I believe that yes, we do try to look for happiness in the same place we lost it.
For now, my only solution is a fresh new start – relationship, place, situation or life – if possible, if available, if allowed, if applicable. The alternative is repeating eternally the same mistake. My opinion.