What does true happiness look like?
Is it feeling optimistic most of the time, or is it the ability to unashamedly enjoy those deep belly laughs in the company of friends and family?
Being truly happy could be both of these, but at the heart of it, it’s feeling content with your life and joyful about the simple things that you come to appreciate.
The truth is that most of us aren’t content with where we’re at or feel like life’s dealt us some awful cards, so it’s hard to experience joy and fulfillment, especially on those days when you’re left alone with your thoughts.
But if this is how you really feel, why is there a need to pretend that you’re happy?
Well, sometimes, we fake our happiness because it’s easier to deceive ourselves and not to show others what we’re actually going through.
So, if you recognize these 7 signs, you’re probably faking happiness, but it’s not the end of the world, and you can turn things around.
Let’s get straight to it.
1) You spend more time alone than usual.
Whether you’re a loner or not, a general sign that you’re not feeling soulfully happy is spending more time alone than usual.
It’s not that you don’t have social circles; you just find it easier to be on your own. Rather than force a smile or have to explain your situation, you think it’s better to take some time out.
If you’re more of an introvert, these solo periods become longer than usual, and you don’t feel comfortable about it.
The problem is that you aren’t just “taking some time out” to re-energize yourself. You’re isolating and deliberately keeping others at bay to protect yourself.
While we all have off days and need some time out, it’s when we catch ourselves hiding away from the world that we have to question why we’re avoiding everyone.
Are you pretending to be happy?
2) You’re constantly comparing yourself to others.
I’ve got a confession to make because this one comes pretty close to home.
I’ve been guilty of being caught up in self-comparisons to the point of losing focus on my own path and life. At the end of the day, it left me questioning my self-worth, which isn’t a good feeling at all. I hope that you’ve never been there.
But if you have, remember that it’s not a sin to compare yourself to someone else.
Whether it’s a colleague who’s considered an “outstanding performer” or a friend from your past who seems to be progressing, we all have moments where we pay a little too much attention to someone else’s life.
The problem starts when we constantly compare ourselves to others.
You end up questioning your value, and that’s definitely not what you should be doing when you want to be genuinely happy.
So why do we end up pretending to be happy?
The onslaught of self-comparison creates jealousy, and eventually, you want what others have. It leads to complete dissatisfaction with life, and sometimes, this affects your sleep patterns, your mood, and your sanity.
It’s time to take your happiness back.
Appreciate what’s right in front of you. It doesn’t have to be things because things come and go. But your family, friendships, and achievements should make you feel proud, regardless of anyone else.
3) You’re moody.
Your mood changes throughout the day, and it’s not necessarily because you’re having a bad day in general; you just feel snappy and irritated for no reason.
Remember that happiness doesn’t mean that you never feel sad, angry, or frustrated.
People who are generally happy can maintain their mood for the most part, and if they get upset about something, they work through it and get over it.
They don’t go from feeling good to sad or miserable every single day.
For instance, you could have a productive day and then suddenly feel overwhelmed or agitated. I’m not talking about extreme mood swings, but just a general dissatisfaction that can be hard to pinpoint.
Sometimes, a small incident that you can easily work on becomes a monumental failure because you just can’t cope.
If you’re trying to hold it together and make it through each day, it’s obvious that you’re pretending to be happy. Joy and contentment should come naturally, and if you struggle in this area, it’s time to speak to someone you trust about it.
4) You’re stuck in the past.
You can share happy moments with others, and you know how to have fun, but most of the time, you find yourself thinking about the past.
I don’t mean reminiscing about happy memories. You tend to drift down memory lane where someone betrayed you, hurt you, or made you feel like you weren’t good enough.
Maybe you get triggered by a conversation with someone or an incident that takes you back to a bad space. The problem is that you get stuck there, and it takes so much of your energy that it’s impossible to feel happy and at peace with yourself.
We can’t go back in time.
The best you can do is try to stop yourself when you think about negative situations from the past. Try to reinforce good memories by bringing them into your mind, and if you need help overcoming negative experiences, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional.
5) Your happiness comes from things.
You’re on top of the world when you’re scoring the latest deals at the store, and you feel fulfilled when you look at your new sofa, TV, or smartphone.
But it’s only short-lived, and once the feeling wears off, you’re left uncertain and wanting more.
It’s nice to have nice things, but as the saying goes, “Money can’t buy you happiness.”
It’s absolutely true. We can’t experience joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction with our lives if we keep placing value on what we have. It leads to wishing for what we don’t have, and that creates frustration and dissatisfaction.
So, when you think that you’re happy while shopping online or unboxing your latest gadget, this is not authentic or long-term happiness.
When you equate superficial things with happiness, your joy will always be fleeting.
By attaching an emotion to things, you need to keep making purchases to feel happy. You end up in a cycle that’s challenging to break.
If you’re guilty of using things or activities like shopping to feel good about yourself, it’s time to take a stand, and that means doing the work to accept authentic relationships that will bring eternal happiness into your life.
6) You fake your smile.
It’s yet another family lunch, and everyone’s doing the rounds to catch up, but you find that you’re forcing yourself to smile rather than relax and be in the moment.
You don’t want anyone to think that something’s up, and you don’t want them to ask questions about your life, so you nod your head and show your teeth as best you can.
What you might not realize is that most people can tell a fake smile from a genuine one, and the secret’s all in the eyes. When we smile from deep within, our eyes smile at the same time. But when it’s faked, you have a cold or empty look that doesn’t come from a positive place.
The thing is, many people put on a false smile because they want others to know that nothing will get them down or get in their way.
It’s easier to let others believe that you’re happy when you really aren’t, and if they just looked below the surface, they’d know it.
7) You find independence challenging.
There’s no two ways about it; a stepping stone to happiness is independence.
When you can live independently and take control of your life, it creates a sense of pride and inner strength.
The road to get there isn’t easy.
But a sign that you’re probably faking being happy is when you struggle with being independent.
Without independence, it becomes nearly impossible to support others, whether financially or emotionally. You also feel frustrated with yourself because you find it challenging to be on your own.
While you want your friends and colleagues to believe that you’re independent, the truth is that it’s a challenge for you, and you fake your happiness.
When you’re really happy, you feel a true sense of peace. It filters across every area of your life, and you’re able to share this joyfulness and contentment with others.
Regardless of how your day goes or whether you’re dealing with a difficult situation in your life, you can say with confidence that you feel peace and contentment in your heart.
It’s when you start faking your smile and withdraw from those closest to you that you have to pick up on the signs that something in your life is out of sync.
If you want to stop faking happiness, you need to be honest, and that means recognizing what is lacking in your life and what you need to do to change your circumstances.
Only with awareness can you move toward true happiness.
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