A Real Smile or The Big Fake: You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

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real smile or the big fake

The Big Fake

Answering the “Are you Happy?” question isn’t always easy.  Sometimes, we actually fake it.  Sometimes, we have to.  What else is there to do?  Smiling your way through the day, even when you don’t feel like smiling, has an unlikely way of helping.  There is a saying that goes something like this –> Sometimes we smile because we feel joy and other times we eventually feel joy because we smile.  There is much in this life to cause dismay: unhappiness with one’s life or work, a crappy economy, poor health, no money, relationships gone wrong, depression, fear, and anxiety.  And if we are hale & hearty and want to stay that way, we must go on, just like life.

One of my favorite Churchill quotes is, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”  I have said it a lot over the last 15 years.

It isn’t always easy.  And not everyone can do it.  Often, news must be shared that is less than fun to share – especially in the “jobs” industry or even in every day business.  Whether it is the bad news of not getting the job or losing a client and/or news of revenue or lack thereof.  And even news of failures – by ourselves or our own company/employer or a selected vendor or partner.  Never easy to face.  I suppose there are those who do not face it.  Again, the big fake.

Facing the Truth

When I was still a young adult, my father was diagnosed as manic depressive, better known as bipolar disorder today.  He was prescribed medication but it was difficult for him to take and maintain because to level out his pain and depression also flattened out the joys and the highs that kept him going.  Even to the normal person, the highs are what we live for, for what we strive.  And when you take that away, real life – actual reality of choices, whether mistakes or otherwise – stares you straight in the face – slaps you in the face – and unfortunately, you cannot turn away; you must stand and face it.

Truth be told, I think we all suffer, if just a little, from a little bipolar disorder.  We self-medicate all the time by seeking out adrenaline or peace.  Whether it is climbing Mt. Everest or having a few too many beers.  Or becoming a workaholic or watching too much TV.  Or becoming addicted to exercise or addicted to Starbucks. The balance is the hardest thing to maintain, because in balance, we see it all and not everyone  likes what they see.

I am guilty.

I sometimes work late hours and fail to even see when I have fallen into that pattern.   I am known for always having my mobile device in my hand – always.  I made a vow a while ago that I would not bring it to the dinner table with me – I have stuck by it, but those first couple of meals were like going through withdrawal and that is when I knew had a problem and that I was doing the right thing by declaring the dinner table a mobile-free zone.  Now, if I can get my teen-aged son to follow my lead?  Well, that would be a miracle.

Decisions that Lead to Balance

The world will continue to turn should I leave work at 5:30, instead of 6:30pm.  The emails will still be there after I finish my meal.  And whatever is on TV isn’t nearly as important as the story my fifteen year old is telling me – four years from now, he will be too busy to tell me anything – cat’s in the cradle, you know.  Make the decision to find balance between what you need to do now and what you can do later.  Balance and keeping it.  It isn’t as hard as it feels, but isn’t as simple as it should be either; we are a fast-paced people in a fast-paced time.  Every now and then, take a breath – smile for reals.  It’s the best way to self-medicate.

by Rayanne Thorn

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  1. As Amy Cuddy says, “Fake it until you become it.” Her power posture presentation at TED was brilliant. I now do 2 minutes of “Wonder Woman” before every important meeting. Excellent article, Ms. Thorn.


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