Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.

~ Blaise Pascal ~

Happy Though Miserable

August 26th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 7 secs

Do you know somebody who seems happy though miserable?

Can you be happy though miserable at the same time? Plenty of people feel that way. They’re compelled to wear a happy mask. But underneath? Well, a good many say they’re living out a routine of misery. So how can life ever end this way?

Wherever you are and whatever you do, you and I both live with many pressures. Some come with the unique community we live in. Others are totally self-imposed; a legacy of all the ought’s and shoulds we direct ourselves with. You must, for example, be a certain size thin. If not, why not? And shouldn’t you be richer/smarter/more popular/and better looking by now? Directed by extensive lists of must do’s, our criteria form the basis for deciding our life.

You can see how easy it is to be happy though miserable when you consider the content of your own list. That’s why putting on a happy game face and looking the part fits on many a person’s catalogue. Better that than people discovering how we really feel. Because if someone saw our failures, we’d end up unspeakably vulnerable.

We want people’s approval and we’ll go to great lengths to get it. Especially if it comes through a smile and other trappings of happiness. Yet wanting is nowhere near as satisfying as being. How you and I feel about our selves, our moments, and life itself, always defaults back to our daily inner experience. Being outwardly happy though miserable on the inside then, can be a trade off.  With it, a person might fend off their sense of helplessness, even if it does nothing to stem their wretchedness. No amount of outward happy buzz and glossing over true feelings brings healing. If anything, it only inflames our pain.

Clearly, appearing happy though miserable isn’t being happy at all. Real happiness has depth to it. So no veneer of cheeriness will ever do. For many of us, what we desire and where we are remain at odds. Focus on that longing too much, or despise your reality, and the byproduct is great unhappiness.

So how do we give a life of being happy though miserable the flick? Personally, I believe we need to come back to the moment. Not as it seems to be, but to discover its overlooked potential. Finding the beauty of today right where we are might not be easy. But it’s important. We need to find ways to see what’s lovely about us and carve out a dignity that is 100% guilt and ought free. By acting with courage, speaking well of others, being true to our word, and in a hundred other ways, we can find our own power to make happiness happen precisely where we are. Then, when we do, we’ll be able to sift through the must do list. Keep a few ought’s by all means. But if you’re give today all the integrity you can muster, you’re no longer reliant on looking good. You already are.



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