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Smiling Often Does Not Necessarily Bring Happiness, Here’s What To Do Instead

Smiling Often Does Not Necessarily Bring Happiness, Here’s What To Do Instead

A few years ago, a small movement was started where people came together in groups to practice smiling and laughing. You may have seen or read about it at the time. The reason these groups came to be was because it was thought that laughing and smiling would make people feel better and happier.

Did it work? Does smiling make you happy? One study suggests it may not have worked; that forcing yourself to smile and laugh could have the opposite effect on your happiness.

This study found that forcing a smile when you are feeling bad, can make you feel even worse about your situation — the smile is a reminder that you aren’t really happy. The “fake it til you make it” approach just doesn’t work for many people when it comes to happiness. There has to be a better way, and there is. Instead of forcing a smile, consider these suggestions.

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1. Be Honest With Yourself

If you are going through a hard time right now, the only way out is to deal with it, and the first step is to be honest with yourself about it. Many times, we try to deceive not only the people around us, but also ourselves. Give yourself permission to own how you are really feeling. If you know that forcing a smile is going to hurt more than it helps, don’t force it. It is OK if you don’t smile every moment!

2. Be Honest With Others

How many times do you answer the question, “How are you?” with “I’m fine,” or “Good.” How many times are you not feeling fine or good when you say that you are? Maybe it’s time to be honest with your answers to that dreaded question.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you give the cashier at McDonald’s your life story; sometimes it is necessary to smile and say “I’m fine” because being honest with others doesn’t mean opening up to everyone. Choose specific people in your life, who you trust, and tell them how you really feel. Tell them that you are tired of faking a smile, and tired of pretending to be OK when you really aren’t.

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When these people ask how you are, tell them the truth. The world needs more truth tellers because there isn’t one person on this earth who has not put on a plastic smile and pretended everything is OK when it really wasn’t. Not everyone will understand what you are going through, but they will understand how it feels to “fake it.” We have ALL been there!

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help

There is never, never, never any shame in getting help when it is needed. Therapy, counselling, or sometimes even just talking it out with a good friend can help immensely. A good counselor will help you deal with the problem and give you the tools you need to find your smile again — the real smile, not the fake one!

This usually means work on your part — there are no magic words to make you feel better, but there are things you can do to change the way you think or view a situation in your life, and ways to correct certain issues that cause unhappiness. If you go and get help, remember to put into practice the suggestions given to you.

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4. Try a Real Smile on for Size

Whatever your situation is right now, whatever the cause of your fake smiles, there are still opportunities for your real smile to show itself. Think about what makes you happy. If you cannot think of anything, go a little farther back and think about the simple things that used to bring a smile to your face.

It could be something as simple as watching your dog play at the park, or listening to your favorite song. Or it could be something like sharing a good cup of coffee with a friend. Whatever it is, revisit those moments in your life that made you smile for real.

Go back and try it again. While that study proved that faking a smile doesn’t bring happiness, it did prove that when you are happy, you will smile. Go back to what makes you happy, and you will find yourself smiling again.

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(Please note that this article does not mention depression — this is an illness to be taken seriously, and needs to be treated by a professional. The advice given in this last paragraph will not help anyone who is severely depressed.)

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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