February 26, 2012

The Happiness Lie

I got the flu. I blame it on the lack of chocolate, but I'm no doctor. At any rate, the one thing that always makes me feel better when I'm sick is a round of movies. So this Saturday, as I was fighting off the worse body pains ever (still blaming lack of chocolate) I watched three films all related to the same theme. The theme, unfortunately, wasn't happy as much as thoughtful and left me kinda sad thinking about who we pretend to be.  My movies of choice were; "Revolutionary Road" with Kate Winslette and that other guy that sank in Titanic (his name escapes me - I blame that on lack of pepperoni pizza). A movie all about living the great North American lie (I mean life). My next choice was very much the same  "Far From Heaven" with Julianne Moore about a high society couple living the same lie (he's on the down low and she's in love with a black man in the early 50's). The final film, in my humble opinion, is most brilliant. When it reaches its' conclusion my mouth is always open, my eyes stop blinking, and my heart rate goes up. It's not a action thriller, but its' message really speaks to me; the movie is "The Hours" with Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep (I'm in awe of this women) and Julianne More.

A truly happy picture my man-friend painted for me on his backyard fence (it remains there today - albeit weathered).

So I'm thinking about "authenticity". We hear this word bounced around these days (usually from the self help gurus or "spiritual teachers" of our time) but what does it mean to be authentic and why are we (as a society) so frickin scared of it? I know more than a few people living a lie at the moment, but one in particular really upsets me. She will smile and laugh and appear like her life is full of joy and good health and yet she and her husband couldn't be more distant.  She shows the signs of unhappiness through constant work and busy-ness. It is apparent she's unhappy on the inside but not yet ready to do anything about it....why? Many others regret the people they have married, the job they are stuck in, the place they are in their lives without taking steps to change. Meanwhile, they walk the earth with a big smile on their face, while they are holding back the tears.

With what we know about the detriments of smoking, sedentary living, eating a balanced diet of deep fried cheese, and not wearing your seat belt, I truly believe (without a doubt or scanning the literature) that living a life not true to ones self is the number one health concern in North America.  

Living a life that is truthful promotes feelings of appreciation, joy, happiness, contentment, peace, and kindness most of the time (yes, there will always be times when you would like to bury your face in a Sarah Lee Deep and Delicious or wish your life was like your Facebook friends) but most of the time your feeling pretty good about yourself. Those that don't tend to find something else to turn their attention elsewhere; their kids, their work, or a nasty little addiction (exercise, shopping, TV/Internet, booze, drugs, smokes, socializing.....you get the idea).

I have to be honest myself and say that as I start planning a summer full of wedding plans and moving in together, I'm feeling a sense of happiness and hope I have never felt before. I am starting to realize I have told lies to myself during my 30s and even into my 40s to help me cope with the thoughts of never finding a family of my own, never getting married or finding a man that fit me, and never having kids. Even though I will never have kids of my own, my fiance brings three amazing ones with him (plus one huge and hairy  dog - God help my sectional). Last night when he mistakenly introduced me as his wife, I felt a sense of joy I haven't felt before. Could it be that I have been lying to myself all this time that I have been happy or could it be that I never felt what it is truly like to be happy? Perhaps it just the fact that I have found someone that fits me instead of trying my hardest to fit someone.

Yup. We go together like two beer can turkeys on Thanksgiving!

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting my own happily ever after, but today I'm just thinking about the potential lies I have been telling myself all this time and it has started to open the curtains a bit so I can see clearly. Perhaps we tell ourselves lies to help us cope through our reality.  At any rate, I know what I want and I know what is important in my own life. It isn't working out for two hours in the gym, it isn't shopping for the perfect outfit, and it certainly isn't working 12 hours days to climb the ladder.....it's a family (oh my, that sentence just opened my own flood gates). Interesting. I blame it all on the flu.



  1. Couldn't resist commenting on "the happiness lie." Firstly because it was great to read you were cohabitating with a wonderful guy... and a guy who's unconscious was smart enough to Freudian slip into calling you his "wife."

    The more articles of yours I read the more I appreciate your writing and your smarts. I think you have a very good ability in focusing on what is important in life, what it takes to achieve true lasting health, and telling us what is total crap we should avoid.

    "...living a life not true to ones self is the number one health concern in North America." Totally agree. What do we live for after all? Just to be 100 years old?

    Hopefully the effects of lack of chocolate and pizza are no longer influencing you so traumatically ; ) and you got your memory and pep back to full steam.

    All the best,

  2. You know, Daniel, I believe that people do, say, or come into your life for a reason (even if it is on a blogsite such as this). Your post meant a lot to me and it was one I re read over the course of my weekend.

    Lately, I have been feeling less than impactful or motivated to continue posting on this site. Instead I have been working on a book proposal that will be sent to the publishers for consideration.

    Last week I hit a huge road block and started wondering who the hell I thought I was and why does anything I have to say matter in the big scheme of things. I'm not a famous celebrity nor do I even have a huge following on my blog. I just have my experience and education and that's it.

    Your comment helped my spirits and re motivated me to continue and I thank you for that.

    It's funny how we never know how we will effect people in the world but we definately do. From ignoring someone to telling them they look great today...it all makes a difference (good or bad).

    I just thought you should know...I really appreciated your thoughts on my writing.
    All the best to you.

    1. Kathi, I am stoked to know that my comments uplifted you at the right time. It is funny how people come in our lives at the right time when we need them to. I am very particular about whom and what I read and your blogs are very good and enjoyable so I would say that is a big compliment.

      I think you need to study up on blog marketing. I'm being completely serious when I say you could be this generation's Erma Bombeck. There was a woman in a documentary on female wrestlers who made a comment that stuck with me (I think perhaps only you could appreciate a tangent such as a woman wrestler's tale), she remarked that she wished she new knew how good she really was at the time she was wrestling. She only learned it in hindsight, but didn't get to appreciate it at the time. Start to know how good you are now and continue to push it. A publishing deal is a good start.

      We seriously gotta get you some marketing chops on how to increase your blog audience... although I do enjoy your undivided attention ; )

      All the best,

  3. Hey D!
    Well...thank you again for making my day. I was so happy to recieve your comments and your suggestions for marketing. I know I suck at the social media stuff; I'm learning, but your suggestion really hit home.

    I also appreciate hearing your comments about my content. I am very happy it interests you, but I don't know about that Erma Bombeck comment (although I would love to entertain the fantasy).

    On your suggestion, I am going to sign up for this social media workshop in June and am strengthening my twitter skills.

    Thanks again, Daniel. Hope to hear from you again.