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True happiness is a critical aspect of our well-being, according to the National Library of Medicine.
But what is true happiness? And would we recognize in ourselves and others?
As a society, we have developed the habit of judging a book by its cover… of taking things at face value and believing only what we see.
This is especially evident across social media.
Yet the reality is that much of what we see on these platforms… the optimistic posts and bubbly pics may not be as they seem. In fact, they may be entirely fake.
Extensive research shows that a lot of the happiness displayed across the Internet is not real, which leads us to the question, “Should you fake happiness on social media?”
Before we delve in, let’s ask ourselves this.
What Does it Mean to Fake Happiness?
Faking happiness is when you give the impression of being joyful to others, but don't feel that way on the inside.
To the outside world, you appear to be enjoying the experience of a lifetime… but in your heart, you feel like something is lacking or you're having personal problems.
You are unsatisfied regardless of what you achieve. Even if good things happen sometimes, you may still seem like you're looking for something you can't quite put your finger on.
So why do it? Why fake happiness on social media?
Reasons People Fake Happiness on Social Media
These people are afraid they may seem less worthy than the people around them.
Or they may have told a lie they need to keep covering, hence fake happiness on social media.
There have been reports of people posting their happiest pics right before doing something detrimental to others, or themselves.
A study by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says this type of conduct can make one sick. It might lead to additional negative thinking, anxiety, pressure, and sadness.
It can even lead to cardiovascular problems.
So, is faking happiness worth it all that?
Should You Fake Happiness on Social Media? Our Answer
The short answer is no!
Faking happiness, based on a myriad of studies, never benefits you… especially in the long-term.
Yet self-encouragement and positive thoughts will.
Forcing a smile now and again is entirely different from manufacturing happiness on an ongoing basis.
This means you are masking a problem, which eventually can become mentally and physically overwhelming.
We did some in-depth research on the pros and cons of pretentious posts. The answers may surprise you.
Here are five reasons we found for why you should not fake happiness on social media… or anywhere for that matter.
1. It's possible that pretending to be happy will make you sick.
I can’t reiterate this one enough.
According to an ongoing study in Germany, being pushed to act happy creates health concerns ranging from depression to cardiovascular disorders.
Psychologists at Frankfurt am Main University have been studying employment that requires a high level of “false enjoyment.” Of course, the same relates to social media, whether it's for work purposes or communication.
Dieter Zapf, the chairman of the university's department of work and organizational psychology, and his colleagues put up a phony railway customer complaints call center and recruited 80 university students to participate in studies while acting as employees.
Half of the group got instructions to defend themselves vocally against impolite customers, whereas the other half heard that they must always be friendly and polite.
The researchers examined the volunteers' heart rates, and preliminary findings revealed that those allowed to defend themselves vocally had a somewhat higher heart rate.
The pulse rates of those who remained polite, on the other hand, jumped up and continued to beat at a considerably faster speed even after the phone calls had concluded.
“We know that an elevated heart rate might result in heart problems and is a good indication of a greater mental strain,” Professor Zapf said, citing past stress studies.
It's past time we abandoned the notion that the client is always correct and exhibited greater appreciation for those who work in customer service.”
In the same way, pretending on social media amidst a chaotic personal life can cause a myriad of ailments, from depression to cardiovascular disease.
2. Faking shows your happiness is defined by others.
A Psychology Today article written by Leadership Consultant Gustavo Razetti states that faking happiness means you're living someone else's definition of happiness.
True happiness is one of the most challenging things to define because no two people have the exact definition. You can be faking your pleasure if you find yourself stuck or behaving in a specific way only to impress others.
It happens a lot of the time without you even realizing it. Your family may have pressured you to go to college to earn a degree in a safe job in which you aren't particularly interested.
Your spouse may pressure you to make a professional or monetary choice with which you disagree.
Your neighbors, colleagues, or even the internet may convince you that to be truly happy; you need to appear and act in a particular way or acquire specific items.
If a thing doesn't appeal to you, but you're considering buying it anyhow, you're probably living someone else's notion of happiness by believing you require it.
Consider that for a moment.
Are the goals you're pursuing the same goals that will bring you joy, let alone appeal to you? Is it necessary to you to have the best car? What is the most prominent house? Which job pays the most?
These are critical questions to consider yourself to avoid squandering funds you don't have on goods you don't require.
3. Fake happiness shows self-esteem issues.
The quantity of comments and likes obtained on social media harms self-worth and online persona. Interactions are affected directly.
Individuals more susceptible to anxiousness or loneliness might be a little more likely to use social media extensively.
Jealousy comes about as a result of frequent social media activity, particularly among people with low self-esteem.
Though technological advances have boosted human well-being, several negative consequences disseminate across demographics.
It will take a thorough, well-defined social policy initiative to universalize a pleasant connection with technology as well as an understanding of one's self-worth.
4. Don't fake, since you get only one shot at life.
Author and Public Speaker Joshua K Sigafus said, “Your existence is far too valuable to waste it trying to please others. Indeed, we ought to love everyone, live in peace, and do whatever we can to keep our connections beneficial.”
However, we must not, under any scenario, let the ideas of others influence how we conduct our life. Using self-confidence quotes can help you build your esteem.
Be the ‘you' that you want to be. Allow yourself to live life with no regrets. Take the risks you desire to take, and you'll become the most refined form of yourself you could be.
5. People who pass judgment on others are frequently miserable themselves.
You mark an authentic, genuine, and purposeful life by open-mindedness and tolerance.
Prejudice and closed-mindedness, on the other hand, are often signs of existence empty of contentment, self-worth and ethical purity.
Trying to appease the closed-minded individuals around you, by this logic, is similar to chopping off one of your limbs merely because everyone else does.
Don't limit yourself because of the restricted perspectives of those around you. Stop allowing yourself to be blind to your abilities. Letting others prohibit you from living your best and most true life is not a good idea.
It's your life. And if people don't believe you should have the freedom to make your own decisions (and even urge you to do so), you should stop listening to them.
Surprisingly, after you stop living to impress other people, you'll find that many of your friends turn against you. But you'll also see that new people will start appearing in your life—new friends who are equally authentic, sincere, and accurate.
You now have an unbelievable network of friends who are open-minded and supportive of who you are, and you have a stronger sense of belonging in your life than you've ever had before.
6. Fake happiness gives others false expectations.
According to Psychology Today, allowing yourself to be freely expressive and let others be free. You may help people when you discard your own biases and expectations on social media.
It's freeing to live a life you enjoy since you're not under any obligation to please everyone else. In the same way, you won't have to force your will on others.
When you take charge of your life, you inspire others to do the same.
Fake happiness on social media is a ruse that adds unnecessary stress on everyone. Let us reclaim the pleasure of living. Remember how you used to play as a kid? Expectations were probably out of the question because you were too busy living life by the minute.
Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting, conversing, and collaborating with others. Many people use social media to convince others that they are flawless, famous, wealthy, educated, and accomplished. Social media is much like a drug that helps you think you're okay and that the world is treating you well.
Extreme faux cheerfulness on social media can be harmful, especially to young people. They may become depressed or fall into a comparison trap. This is where body-positivity quotes come in handy, helping them to appreciate themselves and not be jealous of others online who are often faking.
Researchers strongly advise you to go for a stroll, make friends at a cafe, have fun, but there's nothing better than connecting, conversing, and collaborating with the person across from you.
7. You'll regret not living your life the way you truly desired at the end of it.
This is most likely the revelation that will have given you the most significant amount of courage.
You never want to look back on life and regret it if you had done things differently. You don't want to think back and regret missing out on things because you were frightened about trying something new.
When you've completed this life, you want to reflect and believe that you lived it to the greatest extent. You want to understand that you didn't leave anything to luck and that you took advantage of every available opportunity.
But most importantly, you want to know that fear did not hold you back.
You want to be able to look at your life and know that you were strong and bold enough to live your life on your terms, irrespective of whether anyone around you agrees.
Final Thoughts on If You Should Fake Happiness on Social Media
It’s ok from time to time to “put on a brave face”, as they say, in order to help convince yourself or someone else that everything is all right.
A time when it is called for to make yourself appear happier than you actually are.
Nevertheless, you can't and shouldn’t do this on social media. You will never find the void you are looking to feel from random likes and hugging heart emojis.
Although these positive responses from social media followers can temporarily boost your perceived contentment… true happiness derives from real improvements within oneself.
You'll be surprised how many people can relate to whatever you're going through and how listening to their honest responses will inspire you.
Check out this helpful article about happiness as a choice on Happier Human, which will help you depend less on others and more on yourself to find happiness.
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.