"Many people know that they are unhappy. But even more people don't know they're happy.” -Albert Schweitzer

Nowadays, the pursuit of happiness has become a kind of popular sport. There are countless books, blogs, articles, talks, and guides out there on how to find happiness quickly and seemingly easily. In 5 steps, in 2 weeks, with these very special drops or by laying on of hands, yoga or fasting.

But what does this happiness mean that everyone is striving for?

I know what it's like to be unhappy. Very unhappy. And I know how it feels to be very happy.

After my accident, I was still in good spirits that what had happened to me wasn't that bad. That everything would be fine and my life would hardly change. During my rehab I built a small, ideal world of thoughts. I was so well taken care of, someone was there 24 hours a day. Everything barrier-free, hardly any time to think. But when I came back home after 7 months, reality caught up with me with full force. Only now did I really realize what had actually happened. How dependent and in need of help I suddenly was. So many things I couldn't do anymore, so many places I couldn't reach. I no longer knew what to do with myself, who I really was. Felt useless, sad, alone. Was afraid of the future. From that time I know exactly what it feels like to be unhappy. Very unhappy. I was at rock bottom.

But I knew that I could allow all these sad feelings, but not let them take over.

I then started to stop living in the past and stop focusing on the things I couldn't do anymore. I started figuring out what my strengths were and what I could still do. I looked for new tasks for myself and set myself goals. So I tried out many things during this time and went through a kind of self-discovery process. I also dealt intensively with Buddhism. To appreciate the little things in life, to be at peace with yourself, to find inner peace, to be able to see the beautiful.

In short, that's when I learned about happiness.

What does happiness mean to me now?

For me, happiness is a feeling of lightheartedness. It feels sunny and warm. Balanced, exuberant, light. Like a child playing in the sunset. A pleasant feeling of contentment and carelessness. The sound of the sea, a summer breeze in your hair, the flapping of a butterfly's wings. Unconditional love and unbridled trust.

I think you have to learn to consciously perceive these feelings again. Then you have the chance to experience moments of happiness every day.

But how do you get those feelings?

My path was to go through this process of self-discovery. You have to take a hard look at yourself. find yourself. Ask yourself what you really want to achieve in life. What you want to do and what is important to you.

One should dream, have visions. And set goals.

I also have a rough life plan that everyone should work out in some way. Some targets in the near future, some that come with the gray hair. For example, my exhibition in India next year is on my list. A book of my own. A small house in the south, because I don't like the Tyrolean winters at all. A wedding and a child.

Of course my life isn't always rosy and I'm definitely not always happy. Life with such a high level of paraplegia is not easy. And sometimes I'm really annoyed when the internet is crazy, the weather is bad or a pimple gets on my face.

But I try to always be optimistic, always start positively into each day. Our energy follows our attention. We all experience negative and positive feelings and each of us has an influence on our emotional life. We "feed" our feelings, be they negative ones like fear and anger, or positive ones like joy and hope, through our thoughts. We can change our feelings by learning to think differently.

If I focused on not being able to move my fingers, needing help, not being able to dance, jump and run, I would probably be a very sad person. I, on the other hand, concentrate on being able to go back to bed on my own, get a perfect eyeliner, have a great family and love my best friend.

You should simply focus on the beautiful instead of the problems. Live every moment, love unconditionally and laugh every day.

All the best,


Tina Hötzendorfer
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