Are you just an actor in this play we call life? That may sound a little heavy, but here’s what I’m really asking: Are you truly living life or just playing the role of a bit part? Are you really happy?

I’m going to venture to say that there are two types of people in this world: those that fake it, or pretend their way through life, and those that are real and get the most out of every minute of every day.

Many of us are some combination of the two. But to truly find happiness in life, we all need to shift away from the “pretender” in us and towards the “non-pretender.”

Start by asking yourself which of the two categories below you seem to gravitate towards now. And be honest. No one is listening.

The Pretenders

You might be a pretender if….

• You often take the path of least resistance and tell others what they want to hear.

• You are more worried about hurting someone’s feelings than actually helping those in need.

• You value all the trappings of success — a beautiful house, family and life.

• You prioritize the external appearance of your life over the internal reality of it.

The Non-Pretenders

You might be a non-pretender if…

• You may not always tell people what they want to hear, but will instead tell them what they need to hear.

• You place your emphasis on providing a helping hand to those in need, and show compassion by being forthright about a situation or circumstance, whatever, it may be.

• You put your emphasis on faith, family and friends above all else.

• You measure life based on the intangibles — like relationships, happiness and time — over any material object or thing.   

So Are You Really Happy?

As you’ve probably guessed by now, pretenders tend to look happy, but they’re generally not. Non-pretenders, on the other hand, often don’t care how they appear to others. What they care about is how they feel inside. Are they happy? Are they helping others? Are they enjoying each and every day? Do they go to sleep at night with a sense of inner peace: that what they did today made their lives, and the world as a whole, a better place?

If you’re already in the non-pretender camp, then wonderful. Are you really happy? Probably. But if you’re more “pretender” than you’d like to be, now’s your chance to take a good, hard look at your life. And maybe make some changes that will truly pay off in the long run.

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