Happiness cannot be faked. You are either happy or unhappy – you cannot pretend to be happy without suffering deep within you!
A reader wrote to me asking what must people, who ‘have to put on a mask of being happy’, do to be really happy.
There is actually a related question here – why do you put on a mask? If you are unhappy, be so, tell the world you are unhappy. Why hide your unhappiness? When you hide how you are feeling, you are actually not enjoying yourself. Inside you, you are suffering, you are feeling miserable. So, faking happiness, trying to please people so that you make them feel good and important, when you feel like a piece of sh*t, is a huge disservice you are doing to yourself.
Being genuinely compassionate about another person, and working to enrich their Life, at the cost of what you want to do, is a different thing. There, an inner joy is driving you to serve someone. You want to do that. Faking happiness is a situation when you don’t want to do what you are doing, but you end up doing something imagining you don’t have a choice.
People who are caught in such situations think that ‘gritting their teeth and pleasing others’ is part of everyday living. I too have done that only to discover that each time I suffered a lot. Then I asked myself why I should be serving someone’s interests when I am suffering? So, over time, I have learnt to be very clear about my priorities. I will not do something just because someone wants me to be nice to them or please them, no matter who they are.
Let me clarify here that we are not talking about having to make short-term adjustments or accommodations so that we can help someone who deserves that space or our understanding. I am referring to situations where, because you were not clear about it upfront, that it was a short-term or a one-time accommodation, the other person starts taking you for granted. And each time the person demands your understanding, your time, your support – at the cost of your inner peace and happiness. That’s how you lose the plot, that’s how you start suffering within and put on the ‘mask of happiness’.
Let me tell you this – it is simply not worth doing anything in Life – even if it is pleasing someone – if you are not happy doing it. Also, let’s understand this better – pleasing someone is very different from being compassionate with someone. When you are pleasing someone, you are unnecessarily choosing to be a martyr. You are suffering within, feeling wounded and miserable. When you are compassionate, you are being human, you are not just offering to serve of your own will, you are actually offering yourself. There is great joy and there is oneness between you, the one you are serving and the Universe’s energy.
So, to answer the reader’s question, to be really happy, simply learn to say no when you have to say no. Please don’t say ‘yes’, when you really want to say ‘no’!