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The Happiness Lie


The difference between a sad person and a happy person could hinge on the ability to tell a “good” lie. Specifically, this means the ability to lie to the self - like weaving a good story where you are smarter, prettier, braver, younger, basically, the hero of your life story. Fixating on a negative reality and focusing on the mortal story along with the tales of loss you encounter on your life journey can leave you falling into depression. However, happy people have developed a great coping skill: They tell themselves happy stories.

Everyone wants to release their inner child. So, go observe children and you will hear stories galore. I grew up on a diet of stories as a little girl and became a prolific reader of fiction as soon as I learned to read. From a realistic lens, my parents were poor immigrants, working long hours and I an only child, obese, pimply and nearsighted. However, I learned how to expand my imagination from fairy tales and was actually a happy child who developed into a happy, empowered adult. I grew a secret garden of good stories where magical transformations happened.

Recently, I read two books with clever and pragmatic observations about the human condition, one by Leo Bormans, The World Book of Happiness and the other by Jonathan Gottshall, The Story Telling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Although their structure and themes were worlds apart, they both intersected at this pivotal point: Happy people reframe their life narratives, specifically their obstacles and failures. When you reimagine life’s difficulties, you liberate your innate ability to create meaning and find opportunities.

Human beings love to tell stories, view stories, sing songs with a story, dream at night and daydream. When you become a better storyteller, create a fictional account about the dark side of unhappiness, you shine the light in order to move toward a meaningful self-directed life. Well, isn’t this a better story to live with?

How to tell yourself a flattering lie:
For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show


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Content copyright © 2013 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.



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