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Are You Truly Happy or Just Pretending?

Understanding The Difference Between Pretending to be Happy and Being Truly Happy

Happiness! How can such a simple word hold such a deep and profound impact in our lives? There is a big difference between merely pretending to be happy and being truly happy.

Does a smile signifies happiness?

One can pretend to be all jolly and in a buoyant mood, but that doesn’t mean they are truly happy. Meanwhile, true happiness is found in seeing the beauty in things and being grateful for everything you have, even when things might not be bright and colorful at the moment. Another unmistakable indicator is smiling genuinely just because one feels the joy run through their bloodstream.

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Upon witnessing a person smiling, our minds automatically associate it with that individual experiencing joy, seemingly carefree. But is this assumption always accurate? Does pretending to be happy always signify genuine happiness? No, it doesn’t.

A smile, however, can serve as a shield, concealing the intense torment brewing within, among other emotions. This does not imply that every smiling person is miserable. What I am implying is that a smile does not necessarily indicate true happiness.

What is Happiness?

To me, happiness is obtained through being content with what you have, whether it is little or a lot. It is being grateful and enjoying each moment, smiling at every little thing you see because you see the beauty in it. That, to me, is true happiness!

You can have the luxury of a thriving career and an impeccable love life and still feel miserable inside. Many hold onto the false illusion that they will discover the true meaning of happiness once they acquire certain material things. It is no secret that we all like nice things; I certainly do. But do material things guarantee prolonged happiness?

Can Material Things Bring Prolong Happiness?

However, the part many fail to realize is that these material things can never bring long-term happiness. The issue is that once you obtain the material thing you have been eyeing for a while, you will then set your sight on something else, thinking it will bring more joy into your life. Of course, they can be utilized to bring short-term happiness, but the void will continue to be there. It may be covered, but it’s still there nonetheless.

If material things and wealth brought happiness, then celebrities would not do the things they do to mask their unhappiness and escape their reality. Some might argue that having wealth opens the door to many opportunities, and it does to an extent. For example, wealth can get you access to the world’s most renowned doctors and treatments, but it can never buy you health. 

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, expressed this perfectly in a speech or letter, stating how his millions couldn’t buy the health he needed to continue living on this Earth. Although the following words were posted on Steve Jobs’ personal Facebook account, there is no concrete evidence to confirm that they were his last words, as stated in the LinkedIn article “Steve Jobs Last Words” by motivational speaker Erik Qualman:

“At this moment, lying on my bed and recalling my life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in have paled and become meaningless in the face of my death. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you, but you cannot have someone bear your sickness for you. Material things lost can be found or replaced. But there is one thing that can never be found when lost—Life.”

Steve Jobs

It makes you really think about what is truly important in life. Are the things we are chasing really that important?

The True Meaning of Happiness

In the Dominican Republic, where I’m from, you have the privilege of seeing what true happiness actually is. It is not about what you have or don’t have; on the contrary, it is about the current moment and being grateful for the things that are available to you.

If there is a power outage, no problem—go outside and play with the neighborhood kids instead of feeling bitter about it. If the cooking gas runs out, no problem—go outside, gather some logs, and continue cooking. These are perfect examples of how life doesn’t have to be necessarily easy to be happy; it just has to be manageable.

The beauty of growing up is realizing that you are the only one who can bring happiness into your life. Happiness is not something you can buy by the pound at the corner store. It is an essence that comes from within, disregarding money, people, and material things. True Happiness is about seeing things in an abundant way, with the knowledge that the sun always comes out after the rain. It is learning to appreciate all that life has given you while loving the way the sun feels on your skin or the waves crashing at your feet. Even though the glass is half full, it still has liquid in it.

Now I ask you: Are you truly happy?


Qualman, E. (2021, February 9). Steve Jobs last words. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/steve-jobs-last-words-erik-qualman/

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