Student: What’s the harm in pretending you’re happy, even if you’re not. Can’t I fake it until I make it?
Teacher: The problem with pretending to be happy when you’re feeling something very different is that you can get caught up in the role of smiling so much so that you become a prisoner of the role. There are successful politicians and Hollywood movie stars who have proven that to be a big problem. In the end they do something desperate and foolish because they feel so trapped pretending to be something they’re not.
Whenever you put on a happy face while feeling down, be willing to admit to yourself that it is pretense, and be certain it is serving a deserving purpose; be certain that it’s not just a cover-up to look good or get votes. And don’t do it for too long or you’ll become a slave to the pretense.
Faking it until you make it by pretending that you’re happy will only make you more miserable. When it comes to happiness, it’s how much you appreciate life that gives you that delightful feeling. And pretending to be happy is never an act of appreciation; if anything, it’s an act that depreciates the value of life.
Student: All of this seems terribly important for me particularly to understand.
Teacher: If you’ve been pretending you’re happy, hoping that you could fake it until you make it, then you have no idea how important it is to understand what I’ve just spoken.