“Fake happiness is the worst kind of sadness.” ~ Dominic Riccitello
We have learnt to become a society of fake.
That’s not to say that there are not genuine people because of course there are plenty. But insidiously dusted throughout society like the weeds in a garden is so much fake. Fake has become part of the dress code in the lives of many. It’s a mask that gets popped on as soon as one awakens. Some people are so ingrained in their fake, they no longer know their real self. They’ve lost who they are.
The saying a picture tells a thousand words has a whole new meaning these days. For many, the smiling faces portrayed in those pictures are a lie. Faking happiness to convince themselves? Or perhaps others? Either way, faking happiness is not going to make you happy. In fact, faking happiness will prevent you from actually working on yourself to discover what’s missing. To actually step outside your comfort zone to understand what you want. Why are we so driven to fake our happiness, or hide how we are really feeling? Honestly, because we have become conditioned to believe that being authentic and raw is wrong. It’s about toxic positivity. It’s about comparison. It’s a fear of judgement. It’s greed. It’s the need for control. It’s about the face we show to the world as opposed to the real self. It’s dismally sad.
Speaking of pictures, there was a time when only the magazine pictures were photoshopped. Nowadays, you have no idea if the picture you are looking at is real. Don’t want wrinkles? Remove them. Don’t like the shape of your face? No stress, alter it. Don’t like your skin tone? There’s a filter for that. What about your body, want to slim down? There’s a filter for that too. Social media has created a shallowness and competitiveness that has our ego in the driver’s seat. It impacts our mental health and is fraught with danger. Are we losing the ability to be real human beings? Seems so. And let’s not even start on AI—a whole new level of fake.
We fake our feelings all too often. Afraid of being seen as “weak” or “negative.” When people ask “how are you”, in most cases it’s a platitude, because let’s be honest, do they really want to know we are struggling? That our grief is overwhelming? That our relationship is in turmoil? That our kids have issues? That our finances look bleak? That our mental health is affecting every part of our lives? That we are a shell of ourselves? No, most people do not want to hear that. They do not want to listen and support. We are taught to get on with it. Think positive. Keep busy. Distract ourselves with alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Work. Shopping. Exercise. Food. Socialising. Our phones. Search for validation to feel good. We are taught everything except to be vulnerable and honest about our feelings. To actually acknowledge what’s going on inside us. We are taught to fake it until we make it. To put on a happy face. That time and pretending will fix things. We have been taught a lie.
Now I’m not suggesting that we don’t work on our mental health, our beliefs, and our mindset. I’m saying we are allowed to feel. I’m saying that we do this with truth. We do this with authenticity. We stop compartmentalising. We stop faking everything. Nobody is happy all the time.
We are human beings, not robots. We have emotions. Thoughts. Feelings. When did these become something to conceal? When did the conditioning set in that we need to wear a mask and pretend everything is perfect?
Many people fake their status. Their credentials. Their experience. Their sexual history. Their orgasms. Their financial position. Their insecurities masquerading as ego and that ego needs to look better. It needs to portray a certain level of accomplishment and lifestyle, even if it’s all a show. The world is full of these people. So desperate for happiness and fulfilment that they create a fake life. Not realising if they actually dug deep and did the work on themselves, they wouldn’t feel the need to create all this fake to fill their voids. It’s a terribly sad indictment of the world we live in. And each time these people fake another aspect of their life, their void gets bigger. They need to fake bigger and better each time to get that temporary high. I think the need to fake is like an addiction.
There is nothing sadder than someone who has no idea who they are at their core. Who has created a false version of themselves to fit in. To find a partner. To make more money. There is nothing lonelier than someone who has disconnected from the essence of who they are to become someone they think they need to be.
I think throughout our lives we have all been guilty of this at one time or another. It’s when people get trapped in this cycle that it’s damaging. We should all be healing and growing to become the best version of ourselves, but it should be a true self. So many people running around with unhealthy beliefs and unresolved trauma and grief who instead of acknowledging their pain and doing the work, their emotions fuel something completely different. They shut off from themselves and become inauthentic. The fake version is someone who cares less about other people. They willingly walk over others to get what they want. They become deceptive. They hide who they really are. It’s all about appearances. It’s about their needs and wants. It’s a charade. It’s a show. They are acting. And it’s poisonous.
I personally love a genuine person. Someone who is vulnerable and speaks from the heart. Someone who is truthful, even if that truth is sometimes painful, but it’s always said with compassion. Someone who isn’t bothered about another’s job title or financial position. Someone who wears what they want without worrying what others think. Someone who is willing to live a life that makes them happy, even if it doesn’t conform to some sort of societal expectations. Someone who doesn’t put money before people. Someone who won’t pretend they are happy if they’re struggling. Someone who is unafraid to be unapologetically themselves.
Imagine if we could all just be true to ourselves instead of faking everything. Our collective energy would be incredible. The world would become a better place. Mental health would improve. Power dynamics would shift. Greed and control would diminish. Honesty would be encouraged. Imagine living your external life to match your internal one.
Sadly, our destructive desire to perpetuate fakeness is being watched by our children. They learn what they see. They mimic what is being modelled and they are growing up believing this is how you behave. This is how you live. This is what you need to do to fit in. This generation is going to live fake like no other, unless we their parents, grandparents, teachers, and role models flip the switch. They won’t be able to escape the fake of social media but if we can ground them in reality and model authenticity and vulnerability, we will go a long way to teaching them the beauty of being real and true to oneself. The richness of inner fulfilment and happiness.
Maybe it’s my age, experience, healing, and growth that has removed the need to “fit in.” That has provided crystal clear clarity that I get to choose the person I want to be and the kind of life I want to live, and I choose real. Every. Single. Time. Fake stands out like a beacon now and I don’t want to be any part of it. It’s unhealthy and not only damaging to the individual but damaging to everyone they are connected to. It’s damaging to society.
If you have to create a facade, ask yourself why? What are you trying to hide? What voids are you trying to fill? Who are you trying to impress? What’s wrong with being real? It’s okay to have a sh*t day. It’s okay to struggle as long as you are acknowledging your struggles and helping yourself. It’s okay to get older. It’s okay to have less material items. It’s okay to not have a fancy job title. It’s okay to not constantly chase money. It’s okay to walk away from a relationship. It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be true to yourself.
What’s not okay is pretending to be something else. Someone else. Lying to yourself will eat you alive.
In a world of fake, let’s stand out by being real.