When I see people smiling warmly in pictures, when I see them grinning cheekily through filters, when I see them partying as if there is no tomorrow, and when I see them laughing as if their heart isn’t choked up with sorrow, a question pops

in simple words, the answer is “No, they are not really happy. They just pretend to be.”

Now you must be thinking, how do I know that or who am I to assume things? That’s understandable. But my friends, you will have to read this article to get my point. And if you have decided to read it, then I promise you a good read. Better have yourself settled comfortably on the couch or wherever you feel cosy, because this, is going to be thought-provoking.

The first thing we need to wrap our heads around is the reality of happiness.

What actually is happiness?

Wikipedia refers to it as a feeling of satisfaction and joy. A positive and pleasant emotion. But everyone has their own way of thinking, so there must be multiple different definitions of happiness. Nonetheless, we all experience happiness in one way or another.

If I were to put happiness in words, then I’d say, “It’s the feeling I get when my little nephew looks at me while making grabby hands.” Or I’d say, “When my rabbit nibbles on my hand playfully, or when he licks my feet affectionately, that is what happiness is.”

For me, happiness is also when I get my hands on a new book, or when I start a new fan fiction, or when I write and sing.

And you guys don’t have to agree with me. Your definition of happiness might be a little different from mine. Maybe, to you, happiness is when your mum cooks something nice for you, or when you go to a new restaurant. Maybe, happiness for you is, when you see your mother smile, or when your father laughs while watching a comedy movie.

If I start listing down things that could possibly make people happy, then, believe me, it would take a lifetime for me to write and for you to read.

All in all, happiness is a raw emotion. A genuine one. When it appears in its truest form, you just “feel” it. You don’t fake it. You don’t put fake smiles, or let out obnoxious laughs. You just feel it surging through your whole body, in your heart, in your veins. And this emotion is sometimes too raw that you even cry as well.

Happiness is raw. Happiness is genuine.

And most of us, are faking it. Now let’s get to the point where I answer the question of how do I know? I won’t lie. That’s because I am also among the people who fake their happiness. Well, not every time, but yeah, I do it sometimes. That’s why I can see right through the faces that are morphed into fake happiness. And I guess that you could see it too. The reason, behind it, is very simple — we don’t want others to suspect anything is wrong with us.

We are living in the age of social media. You share something on it, and magically, it flies till the other end of the world. You start doing it just for fun. Sharing little things about you. Hanging out with pals, late movie nights, sun-kissed pictures, funny vlogs, and what not! An escape from the tiresome studies and work. But then, you don’t even realise and it plants its roots in you. It’s like walking around the sea just to enjoy the little waves and then the next thing you know is you are knee-deep in it. You stumble, but it gets hard to extricate yourself from it.

The thought that so many people are watching what you post. They know how you look, how you present yourself. They see your videos and see how you are in person. These and many more thoughts jumble up in your head and you become anxious. So anxious because now you can’t be yourself. You have got some eyes on you, and whatever you do, you feel like being monitored. Because it indeed is like that.

People criticise. They say judgmental things without a care in this world. Thus, you don’t want them to know that your life is not all rainbows and sunshine. You get so caught up in leaving a nice impression on them that you forget who you actually are. You forget that you are just a normal human being who can be sad or angry at times and who is not supposed to be happy always. And you don’t need to suppress those emotions by putting off a happy face just so the world couldn’t judge you.

What you need to know, my friends is the fact that not everything is picture-perfect. The people, who you admire on social media, also go through the exact same issues. They get anxious and depressed as well. They also have this fear of people judging them, yet they still do it because they are way too deep into this ocean of social media.

There is nothing perfect in this world except for the word “perfect” itself. And when you really understand this, you will know why I said “most of us fake happiness.” Because we do. There is no denying this fact.

Happiness, before anything else, is an emotion. And so is sadness, and anger. You are not obliged to be happy all the time. There are times when you can’t bring yourself to be happy, and that’s okay. Just be yourself, and don’t fake it. Because once you start faking it, you will get so used to it that you will eventually forget what happiness actually feels like in the first place.

Be happy, for yourself. Not for the world to see. You don’t have to try hard to be happy. There doesn’t have to be a particular reason for you to feel it. Happiness can be found anywhere and everywhere. You can feel a surge of happiness out of nowhere while you are studying, realising that how you are going to be successful in the future. You can feel it while working, suddenly realising that how much you love your job. You can feel it when you see your pet running around your house.

Moments like these, when it’s just you and your happiness. Nothing else should matter. This is genuine. This is raw. You are there at the moment, present, occupied and alive. This is happiness. The awareness of sincere reality that brings you deep gratification.

You can’t describe it in words when it’s raw and genuine. You just absolutely feel it when it’s there bubbling up in your chest. And strangely, yet amazingly, others seem to know it too. That you are truly happy. Because when you really are, then nothing can hide it.

Today, I want you to make a promise to yourself, that you’ll at least try to not fake your happiness; that you’ll try to not let social media and other people around, affect you; that you’ll try being genuinely happy. Just promise that you’ll try. And once you’ll try it, you will know how pure and ecstatic that feels.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 15th, 2022

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