Have you ever felt the need to smile and look happy in front of other people even if you don’t genuinely feel that way? In everybody else’s eyes, it looks like you’re having the time of your life, but deep inside, you actually feel empty. Regardless of what you have accomplished, there is still something you are searching for. You might be in a situation that is not unfamiliar to many – you are experiencing fake happiness.
When our heart stops using the imaginary to travel, our body and our thoughts betray us with a false image of happiness and of a good life. The difficulties of life, the environment, and the negative actions we encounter daily, quietly hide, without realizing it, the fun and frivolous side of our lives. Having fun helps us to take it with a grain of salt, the trials, and obstacles we sometimes face on our journey.
You may find yourself always in search of a sweet outcome that will satisfy your goal. We want happiness to be our specific goal. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy? But your pursuit of happiness may also lead you in the wrong direction. These are called a fake happiness trap.
When the push to achieve career growth and other similar goals are partnered with hyper-competitiveness and a winning-only mindset, complications start to kick in. Instead of putting your best foot forward, you put your ambition as your main motive. This is called an ambition trap – it’s when you focus solely on satisfying your desires like a promotion or just being a number, all the time and you think satisfying this alone will make you happy.
Following unwritten policies just because they are the ‘normal’ isn’t really bad, however, if you just follow what you are told you ‘should’ do, you risk your chances of getting a sense of fulfillment. Just because you are told you should be a doctor doesn’t mean you should forget his first love. Don’t be fooled by the should trap.
Passion for work, coupled with dedication, benefits not just a company but the employee as well, especially for those who love their jobs. But overworking can impose more stress which can eventually make you emotionally compromised. You may end up being burnt out no matter how resilient you can be. Overwork, as psychologists define, is a modern disease that’s caused by high demands in the workplace. To avoid that, you need to find a work-life balance, or else, you will end up experiencing the overworked trap where you don’t feel any sense of achievement despite the amount of effort you put in.
With a state of mind anchored among the problems of the day, little by little we begin to look for happiness and an escape in bad habits. Alcohol, drugs, and other activities to escape the present moment cast a thick mist on our soul. We run towards every shiny object. We are all trying not to miss out on what we believe will unleash us from the chains we have tied ourselves with. While ignoring the physical and mental signs that manifest inside us and that they are shouting at us, the path taken will make us lose the meaning of our lives.
It’s easy to spot whether or not the happiness you feel deep inside your heart is genuine. There are a few signs to watch out for, and if you do find yourself in any of these, then you may need to reevaluate the way you interpret happiness.
Living someone else’s version of ‘happy’. Young children are often told by some people things like, “be like your mom” or “be like your dad”. When they reach an age where they can already decide on their own, unconsciously, they might still choose to do who they were told to be because they have this mindset wherein “They’re happy as long as their parents or families are happy”. If this sounds like you, then you probably need to ask yourself if you are indeed happy with what you’re doing, or you think of it as fulfilling your obligation to your parents as their child.
Telling yourself you cannot do any better. One of the most dangerous things that fake happiness can do to us is having the mindset that everything is good enough as it is. I’m not saying that having contentment is a bad thing, however, some of us may think that we can no longer do any better. It’s not true. If you open yourself to trying new things, you may just discover an untapped potential you never thought you had.
Thinking you are better than someone else. We all know it’s not a good idea to compare ourselves to others, somehow it feels nice to know that we are better than someone else. Having a better job or a bigger house or a nicer car compared to others can trigger your happy hormones. But this happiness is not going to last. Once you realize that there’s also someone better than you, this kind of happiness can turn to sadness or worse, to insecurity.
Your happiness comes from things. I saw a posts on social media recently: she said, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you a car and it’s the same thing”. Sure, you can become happy if you buy the things you like with your money. But this happiness is only temporary. Laying your happiness on material things is not a healthy way to find joy in life.
You are only happy in certain situations. Are you this kind of person who appears happy whenever you are with your friends, at a party, or on vacation but once you’re alone again, you start to feel down, sad, and lonely? Pretending to be happy in front of others is not real happiness. It’s nothing but a facade you put on because the situation requires you to.
The solution can be so simple and can also be difficult. Only a desire to change the path we are on will push us towards a happy horizon.
1. The art of mindfulness
Take a break, close your eyes. Observe how life is beautiful when influences from outside your body no longer manifest themselves. Let mind and body be rocked by the waves of your imagination. Give free rein to your subconscious to transport you to the shores that you have hidden deep within you. The places where your heart carried your mind at a younger age.
Let your heart and your mind bring joy and happiness to your body and soul. Suddenly, the discomforts you generate will disappear. Repeat this journey every day and watch your life evolve into what you always wanted.
2. Positive mentality strategies
Having a positive mentality helps you become genuinely happy. Appreciate everything, even the smallest things. Try reading inspirational books, listening to relaxing music, or having small talk with a family or a friend who can put you in a better disposition in life.
3. The blessing of gratitude
Make time to have a sip of coffee or tea while reminiscing the moments when you feel grateful for your life. This can also be a time to see how much you’ve changed when you used to be a victim of fake happiness.
4. The power of altruism
Sharing yourself to others can help you find real happiness on a whole other level. Lending a helping hand to those in need, even a simple act of kindness connects us to the people, and in some ways, to the world we live in.
5. Reaffirmation of your values
Directing your focus on your most important values can help you get rid of that idea of fake happiness. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you will embrace what genuine happiness brings and it will help you listen more to what your heart really desires. Remember, you are your own asset. By reaffirming your true self, it makes you see vividly where you want to be.
6. Savor every moment of life
Taking long rides are usually tiring, especially when you are only focused on the destination. You would probably see yourself just sleeping the entire ride, missing the picturesque view along the way. You finally reached the destination, and it was not as satisfying as you thought it would be. The journey isn’t always a smooth ride, so taking time to enjoy every surroundings makes the ride worthwhile, the same goes for every moment in life that you need to enjoy.
Our pursuit of happiness does not need to be dependent on someone else’s standards or anything material. Live your life the way you want to, not how others want you to live. By making this article as your guide, you need not live under the shadows of others’ ideals just to find contentment. Believe and listen to yourself for true happiness comes from within.