The world is not a stage. The men and women are not merely players.
- the anti-Shakespearean
I had this friend with a contagious smile, whose job it was to make sure that everyone in his circle was happy, all the time-- his wife, his family, his staff, his clients, his acquaintances...so on and so forth.
So, when I finally up and asked him one day what his secret was, how he could keep on exuding positive energy when everyone else around him seemed to be down and out , he looked at me quite matter-of-factly and said, You think this is easy?! This is damn hard work!!
And then I realized: As refreshing as my friend was to be around, I couldn't fathom the depth of his pain and hardship he suffered quietly, because he felt an enormous amount of pressure to be "ON" all the time. People just knew him as the free, fun-loving one and if he happened to present himself as anything but this persona, he felt as though he would be letting them all down.
I thought about my friend the other day, because I was paid a rather nice compliment: You seem to be pretty confident and happy, in comparison to a lot of other people I come across who have nothing but negative things to report...
This was flattering of course, but I chose my words wisely. Because A) I knew this was this person's perception of me (as kind as it was), and B) The above statement qualified as a half-truth.
My response was: I don't feel the need to project my troubles on others, when life is hard enough as it is.
Which I truly believe. I've been often accused, especially when it comes to my writing, of always trying to paint life as something beautiful, and lovely, and full of light.
That's not life, I've been told.
I guess the message I'm trying to draw out here, is that the focus shouldn't just be on the "hard stuff" or the "pretty stuff", but what we are able to survive. When we think that every thing around us is shit, it is hard to see a way out . And when we see life as just this grand thing with sunshine blown up our asses, then we don't have the coping skills to get through the rough patches.
What I would define as a "happy" person, would not be just some act that they are putting on, because they are afraid to be anything other than what people perceive them as.
But a truly HAPPY person, is someone who appreciates life fully with an equal understanding of both pain and pleasure, sadness and joy. A person who can converse and empathize about what's real, and then can turn around and still be smiling.