Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Faking It: When Everyone Thinks You're Happy But You


A variation of this article was originally posted on The Write Curl Diary.

A few years ago, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I was absolutely miserable. I was clingy and co-dependent. I didn't feel capable or worthy of anything good. I was obsessed with the idea of being betrayed and left alone. Every time I got in my car, I thought it was going to crash. I was convinced that I was a horrible mother and would ruin my children's lives. My finances were a complete nightmare, so I was always in crisis mode. I was needy, resentful, unhappy, and afraid. There was this overall theme of fragility in my life. Everything around me seemed totally unstable and false.

But from the outside, it probably appeared that nothing was wrong.

Only my closest friends knew that I was depressed. It's not that I didn't talk about it at all, but I bottled most of it up because I didn’t want to burden anyone. To the outside world, I was happy, healthy and generally a positive person to know and be around. I've always been a happy-go-lucky kind of person, so I wanted to remain that for people as much as possible. So, I put on a happy face and secretly marveled at people who seemed to have it all together. I'd wonder how they weren't haunted the way I was. I thought my state of mind was outside of my control.

Depression is real. If you have a cold that you can't shake, you go to the doctor, right? So if you have a sadness that won't go away, you need to see a therapist. You are not cheating on God if you seek professional help. In fact, part of my confusion had to do with my spirituality and relationship with God, so I wanted to speak to someone neutral in that regard.

Through counseling, I realized that I needed to get back to the fundamental basics of who I am. Not as a woman, mother, daughter, sister, friend - just as a human being. I tried to think about a time when I was truly happy. What am I good at? What excites me? Comforts me? Sustains me? I thought about the qualities that came very naturally to me that I always undervalued like compassion, openmindedness, and empathy. I had to wrap my mind around the idea that I was made this way for a reason, and that I could use these qualities to make a positive impact on the world.

Within this idea that I could actually be loveable just the way I am, I began to see a glimmer of light. I’d spent so much time being sad over my supposed shortcomings that I couldn’t see all of the ways that I shine. Once I learned to reframe my mistakes into character builders, the things that once made me feel like an outsider began to be the building blocks of my authenticity.

Have you experienced anything remotely similar? Have you ever seen yourself behaving a certain way and wondered "How did I get here? Why am I behaving this way? This is not who I am!”

There’s no shame in admitting that what you’re doing isn’t working. Don't be afraid to question everything you were taught and create your own happy. You may need to change your environment by giving up people, places and things that bring you down. We're so used to being around negative attitudes and negative talk that we often don't realize how much it affects us. But once you start to see it, trust me, you will begin to move in the opposite direction. When we fill our space with abundant thinking and positive actions, we are inviting happiness and peace into our worlds. All it takes is a choice - a decision to see the world and your life differently.


♥ CG ♥ said...

Whew, have I been there? Yes, I've been in the grips for long periods of time. I, too, am a master at putting on the happy face. As I mentioned to someone recently, unless you've been here it's hard to even relate to it. Excellent points and suggestions as always!

lifelover said...

THanks for this post! On a day when I sit here so uninspired and wondering those very thoughts, "what excites me, what sustains me?", this post is refreshing. I am happy but sometimes I feel like I am moving so fast that all of sudden I come to this stop and I am like WTH??, where am I going again? So thank you for this post as I find myself stopped and direction challenged;)

Jess said...

I love this for all the obvious reasons. I've learned to ask for help now more than ever and its tough but its so comforting to know that my support system is so strong, and my God is so strong. Life can throw some pretty difficult things your way but I'm convinced this happens so that we are forced to continually rely on Him and he manifests in us, and in those around us. We're not islands, and we can't do it alone.

T.jones said...

I love this!! Thank you

Amber J. said...

I love this post because it is so authentic and honest. This is something we need to shed some light on. Thank you so much for giving of your spirit so that others can learn.

Peace and love.
Amber J.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

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