Even if you are upset and unhappy, you can at the very least put on a happy face. At first you may not feel genuinely happy in your heart. But, if you act happy you will eventually feel true happiness and joy. —Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
It goes against everything we’re taught in modern psychology. The experts tell us: Get in touch with your real feelings. Don’t repress your real feelings. Express your authentic feelings.
Okay, to a certain extent, they may be right. If you are hurt or suffering you may have to take some time to understand why you feel the way you do.
But the “why” of your emotions has a spiritual cause. And that’s why unhappiness needs a spiritual cure.
Life can sometimes feel like you’re climbing a mountain of broken glass, emotionally speaking. No matter what has happened in your life or not happened, no matter what’s been given to you or taken away, no matter what you have or what you lack, the ability to be happy is actually a skill you can develop. Even if it seems to take super-human effort.
In other words, true and lasting happiness is independent of your life situation. (For the most part, at least until you develop happiness-building skills.)
Scientific studies show that getting everything your heart desires doesn’t give you lasting happiness. And smiling even when you’re blue (that is, pretending to be happy) actually triggers a chemical reaction in the brain that makes you feel happy! The more you smile, the more joy you experience.
Which is exactly what Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells us.