Are You Faking Happiness?

Are You Faking Happiness?

When I saw Joker in the theater, I found it to be very emotionally affecting. After I got home, I cried. I’m not sure how someone could watch it and not have some emotional reaction to it. The concept of putting on a happy face and creating an image for the outside world is something I see with solopreneurs a lot. We’ve had it drilled into our heads to always be closing and to always project an image of success. 24/7/365. Post photos of yourself in a sports car. Talk about your McMansion. Brag on your million dollar deals. I once had a colleague who got seriously upset with himself because he sneezed during a client visit! Like how dare his body do something completely normal.

Social media ≠ reality.

I remember a song from the 00s called “Hollywood’s Not America.” When that song was popular, I visited LA for the first time and there was a Jack Sparrow impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard who asked if I wanted a photo. As soon as I agreed, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator also appeared and we all posed together. After the photo opp, Jack Sparrow slapped me on the back, dropped the accent entirely, and said, “Welcome to Hollyweird. It’s a different world out here.” It’s a moment I’ll always remember.

Welcome to Hollyweird. With its feather boas and celeb impersonators.

Social media is like Hollyweird– it’s its own little world. It’s been airbrushed and Photoshop’ed and carefully curated to create an image. The business owner who keeps posting super positive quotes and huge smiling selfies might be utterly miserable. In fact, I’m inclined to believe that the more someone is trying to create a happy exterior online, the worse it is offline.

No, I’m not advocating for pity parties.

I am not a proponent of sitting around having “woe is me” sessions with yourself. Your only two options are not: faking happiness so everyone on social media thinks life is great or eating an entire carton of ice cream in the same bathrobe you’ve worn for 6 days straight. I am a proponent of:

• Not believing everything you see online.
• Not comparing yourself to other people, especially the ones who post a bunch of braggadocious crap on IG or FB.
• Being honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.
• Using the “better feeling thought” technique.

The Better Feeling Thought Technique.

If you wake up feeling depressed and disappointed, it is difficult to get all the way up the emotional ladder to joy or bliss. So maybe you aim for something like contentment or ease. And you continue to bump yourself up one step at a time until you do feel things like joy, love, bliss, and gratitude. You don’t have to put the pressure on yourself of making a quantum leap from misery to ecstasy all at once. I heard Sadhguru give an interesting lecture on Lao Tzu that has helped me a lot:

“Lao Tzu said, ‘Oh, that! It is just that every day when I wake up in the morning, a thought comes to me, ‘Today, shall I be joyful or miserable?’ Until now, I just happened to choose joy, that’s all.’ That’s all it is. If you choose to be joyful this moment, you can be joyous. It is just that you have to make a choice every moment that you want to be joyous. Consciously, very firmly make a choice that you will live as a joyous human being. Don’t put it on mortgage – ‘But if this happens how can I be joyous? If that happens how can I be joyous?’ ‘Whatever happens I will live as a joyous human being.’ Make a choice like that. If you are fine by yourself, then wherever you go you will have wonderful relationships with people.”

Take a social media break when you need to.

If you’re following people who make you feel crummy, stop. If your news feed is nothing but negativity and bad reports, clean it up. Some people benefit greatly from a social media detox. When you spend time with people and animals and get out in nature, you realize just how much social media is a false construct anyway. It IS Hollyweird! It has its value, to be sure, but it is not some form of objective reality. There are services you can use to schedule posts or generate content for you. If you find that spending time on social media is fueling negativity for you, consider outsourcing it for a while so that you can get back to reality.

Do you feel like you’re putting on happy face in your business? Are you comparing yourself to others who seem more successful or prosperous? Let’s talk about it.

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