Can an overdose of happiness and perfection make you depressed and exhausted? Yes. Just like an overdose of chocolate can. Whoever thought of the name Death by Chocolate, needs our salute. In my mind, this — my favorite dessert — has come to represent our times. We are all happy. We are all perfect.
For we dare not be otherwise. It is neither the norm, nor the accepted custom anymore. And modern homes must depict this image. Before the guests come in, bitter fights are stuffed carefully under mattresses, nasty arguments are hidden behind insanely cheerful family pictures and spiteful disagreements are pushed behind lips pulled up in ecstatic smiles.
Nothing must leak out. For that would be uncivilized, wouldn’t it? And that’s what our photographs must reflect. On FB, on Insta, on social media. Our face and our bodies become instantly filtered, fabulous and frighteningly perfect. Without having to spend a bomb on cosmetic surgeries. Our relationships look beaming, bonded and blissful. Without having to work on them.
And somewhere we begin buying into our own untruths. That we are infallible. That we are achievers. That our Brand is Me. So, when life throws a curve ball (as is the nature of life), we collapse. We feel shaken by who we really are. Unfiltered mortals with insecurities, anxieties, failures and flop relationships. Quaking humans just a diagnosis away from something terminal. The sooner we awaken to our reality, the better will this be for our sanity.
The time has come for a Deep Dive session into ourselves. The time has come to touch base with our core. The time has come to become our authentic selves. And do so without fear or favour. For somewhere in our life journey we have lost our way. Somewhere, in the midst of our travels we have stumbled and picked up the wrong baubles. We have joined the ruthless, unending race for better, newer, bigger, trendier. M-o-r-e.
The real jewels lie inside us. Those precious jewels of kindness, compassion and authenticity. Trust me, our world needs these “shinies” more. Actually, the chase of perfection itself is imperfection. I believe that each one of us is fully endowed. We come installed with our own GPS system. Merely polishing it up will lead us to the treasure trove within.
Our destination is not outwards towards bigger, newer, better. It is inwards — towards being more humane, compassionate and genuine. So, the next time we pout, fake an accent or filter up our lives, let us ask ourselves. Is this my cage or my crown? Am I conforming or making a choice? For there is a big difference between the two. We conform to be accepted by others. When we make a choice, we empower ourselves. We act from a space of freedom. And that brings me to the subject of happiness.
Is the happiness we are chasing relative or absolute? Does it stem from shallow conformity of what is expected of us? Or is it born out of our self description, having passed the test of our personal values? For if it has, it means we are not living fake lives.
One in which we are being defined by others. That is choice. That is happiness. And no overdose of this kind of happiness can kill us. Happiness is “an inside job”. Happiness is letting go of what others think our life should look like. Happiness is the decision to be neither a perfectionist, nor a loser. It is the confidence to occupy “the space in between.” The happy space of “being human, with all my flaws.” The choice of “just being me”.