Are You A Victim Of Fake Happiness?

By Mason Komay

Updated December 02, 2019

Reviewer Aaron Dutil

We all have an idea of what happiness looks and feels like, but it is something that we all can easily fake as well. Sometimes we do this without even meaning to, which only causes further frustration and stress. Although this is more common in young and middle-aged adults, it can happen to anyone of any age. There are several reasons why you might find yourself as a victim of fake happiness - let's take a closer look.

Have You Just Been Pretending To Be Happy?
Learn What It Means To Be Truly Happy. Chat With A Therapist Today!


Why Fake Happiness?

Faking happiness occurs when you make yourself appear to be happy to others, but don't truly feel this way internally. To everyone else, it looks like you're having the time of your life, but on the inside, you feel as though something is missing. No matter what you accomplish, you still feel unfulfilled. Regardless of whatever wonderful things happen to you, you still feel as though you're searching for something you can't explain. This behavior can lead to even more negative thoughts, as well as stress, tension, and depression.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you might be involved in this unwanted behavior - but you're not alone. It's extremely popular to find posts on your social media feed that depict everyone seeming constantly happy all of the time. Commoditizing your social status with "likes" is detrimental to your mental health. The truth of the matter is that no one is happy 24/7. Those who constantly upload pictures of themselves seeming this way are typically the biggest victims of all. Do you feel as though you might be a victim of fake happiness? If so, here are a few behaviors to keep an eye out for that might help you determine your answer.

You're Living Someone Else's Version of Happy

One of the greatest things about true happiness is that no two people can define it in the same way. However, if you find yourself living or acting a certain way just to please other people, you might be faking your own happiness. A lot of the time, this happens without you even noticing it. Your parents may have pushed you toward college to get a degree in a secure job field, one you are not necessarily passionate about. Your spouse may pressure you to make a career or financial decision that doesn't feel right to you. Your neighbors, friends, or even the media might tell you that you need to look and act a certain way or buy certain things to achieve real happiness.

If a certain product doesn't appeal to you, yet you are still considering purchasing it, you are likely living someone else's version of happiness by thinking that you need it. Think about it for a moment. Are the things that you're working toward the same things that will make you happy, let alone matter to you? Do you care if you have the fastest car? The biggest house? The largest paycheck? Questions like these are important to ask yourself in order to prevent spending money you don't have on things you don't need.


If you're not working toward something that matters to you, it will feel more like an obligation than a means to better serve yourself. If you don't seem to find happiness at the end of all your hard work, it's time to make some changes and prioritize what you really want in life.

You Tell Yourself You Cannot Do Any Better

There is a difference between being happy with where you are and thinking that you can't go any further in life. If you find yourself trying less and less to get the things you want and you feel as though you can't progress beyond your current quality of life, then it's quite possible that you are a victim of fake happiness.

Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking that we're satisfied with what we have when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. It's easy to confuse the ideas of contentment and happiness to the point where we accept a quality of life that falls short of what we want or are capable of obtaining. In other words, you might think that your happiness is something that only happens now and again and that everything in between is insignificant to the bigger picture. The good news is that things don't have to stay this way.

If you do feel contentment in life, it should come from a place of peace rather than a sense of giving up. Faking happiness can make us believe that we should make the best of a situation we're not satisfied with. Remember, life is not merely about keeping our boat afloat - it's about steering our ship to new and exciting places.

You Think You Are Better Than Someone Else

It can be easy to get your happiness and pride intertwined with one another. You might think that the reason you're happy is that you have more money or nicer clothes than someone else, or because you can afford to buy more or better-quality things than others.

When you reduce your happiness to what you have versus what others have, you're relying on pride to fuel a false sense of happiness. Real happiness cannot come from pride alone. To achieve real happiness, your ego must be in check. This requires having a true understanding of your values, beliefs and a positive perspective that you will undoubtedly reach your goals.

Your Happiness Comes from Things

When your happiness comes only from certain objects, it's bound to be short-lived. Common types of temporary happiness come from things like junk food, alcohol, or anything else that you usually don't need. Sometimes, temporary happiness starts with the goals we create for ourselves. Ideas like, "If I just lost ten more pounds, I would be happy" or anything along those lines are perfect examples.

Have You Just Been Pretending To Be Happy?
Learn What It Means To Be Truly Happy. Chat With A Therapist Today!


When you fall victim to this type of thinking, you create a cycle that is hard to stop. This cycle begins when you believe that you need certain things to feel content. You begin working on your goal or go out and buy the thing you saw on TV in an attempt to eventually reach what you desire. But all too often, this sense of accomplishment doesn't last very long. Wanting to recapture that sense of achievement or satisfaction again, you might immediately start thinking about the next thing that might make you happy. And as a result, the cycle continues.

This behavior has a tendency to trick you because things are always changing. You might lose weight, but it might come back. You might take a vacation, but you must return home. It is important to understand that there is a huge difference between working toward a goal that might make you temporarily happy and simply doing something out of enjoyment.

You Are Only Happy in Certain Situations

It is normal to expect your levels of happiness to rise and fall depending on what is going on in your life. For example, if you're only happy at work when others are giving you recognition, or if you are only happy with your hobby when you win an award, you may want to ask yourself if your happiness in these things is truly genuine. Real happiness views situations where everything is going well as unexpected blessings, not requirements for satisfaction. Real happiness lies in an understanding that there is still value in what you do, even if no one is watching or no sense of accomplishment is gained.

When your happiness relies on certain conditions to be a certain way, you automatically set yourself up for sadness when things fall apart. While that temporary happiness feels good when things do go your way, it is nothing compared to what genuine happiness feels like when it comes from a place that cannot be diminished at the first sign of trouble.


If you can relate to any of the behaviors above then you might be a victim of fake happiness. Therapy is highly recommended, but if you're not ready to speak to a counselor, there are several alternative solutions for you to consider.

Take a Break from Social Media

As previously stated, it's extremely popular to find posts on your social media feed that depict everyone seeming constantly happy all of the time. As a result, you might find yourself feeling depressed. This is especially common if you happen to spend a lot of time scrolling through your social feed and uploading your own images that make you seem happier than you really are. The best solution? Take a break.


Meditation and Yoga

When you have a clear mindset, it's much easier to identify your values and what really makes you happy. Meditation and yoga are two of the most powerful exercises in helping you achieve this.

Try New Hobbies

If you feel like your hobbies are more of a chore than a fun activity, it can benefit you to explore new hobbies that you might enjoy. For instance, you may discover that you've had a hidden passion for activities like cooking or fishing - you never know. In finding new hobbies, you may also find yourself setting goals that will result in true happiness.

Consider Counseling

Becoming a victim of fake happiness can happen to anyone. If you need help starting your journey toward genuine joy, you can take the first step today at BetterHelp. We offer discreet online counseling with professional therapists who have years of experience helping others build authentic happiness. Whether you need help finding your values or conquering depression, we'll pair you with someone who's right for you. You deserve to be truly happy. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"I've worked with Jamie for a number of months and he's helped me with everything that life has thrown my way. Difficulty in work, my relationship, and other stresses that I've struggled to navigate by myself. He listens and he helps. I always feel validated and supported. He gives me tools and perspectives that have made a big difference in my overall happiness."

"Emily is great. She is so sweet and supportive while getting to know me. She has played a major role in my recovery and pursuit to find happiness. It's getting better every day and I couldn't be more pleased with Emily's professionalism."


Fake happiness can be very easy to fall victim to. It's common among many and can cause you to feel that sense of "emptiness" inside. Luckily, if you or someone you know is suffering from this, the help you need is right around the corner. It's time to get back to living the life you enjoy. Take the first step today.

Previous Article

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, So What’s The Secret?

Next Article

How You Change When Happiness Comes From Within
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Counselor Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.