Happiness

Faking Happiness Makes Your Unhappiness Transparent

Trying to fool people you’re happy when you’re not is a self-sabotaging practice; you’re deceiving nobody and denying yourself time, space, and opportunities to heal and grow. Ostentatious displays of imaginary “happiness,” especially following tragedy or heartbreak, does not reveal true happiness: it exposes your cowardice, your unwillingness to sit with the pain, the heartache you’re confronting.

Even though the pain of tragedy or heartbreak is unsettling, one should never resort to facades, misrepresentations. Sit with your pain in private first, and when you’ve given yourself the proper time, space, and opportunities to heal and grow, then you can publicly share your authentic happiness or demonstrable progress towards it.

Loss, betrayal, dishonesty—all dimensions of the human condition we face. How we respond to them determines how we emerge from them. Do you want to emerge more liberated, more empowered from them, or do you want to live imprisoned in self-doubt, eternally vexed by your toxic response to them?

Fake it until you make it—a vain, otiose philosophy—spoils any chance you have to advance beyond unhappiness. In fact, this fallacious and disingenuous philosophy is rooted in unhappiness.

You cannot experience emancipation when you’re committed to shackling yourself to unhappiness. The previous sentence evokes Audre Lorde’s powerful statement of resistance to enslaving one’s self to the control of an enemy: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Unhappiness cannot be eradicated with the tools of unhappiness.

In the midst of your storm, find hope, hope in what’s possible beyond the storm. The storm can be ephemeral; the storm can be surprisingly enriching. Your commitment to truth in the storm will lead you safely on the other side of it. On the side of the storm is joy, peace, and gratitude.

Joy is enduring and more fulfilling than happiness. To arrive usher in happiness, one must begin a serious gratitude praxis, a praxis that ultimately leads to joy.

When you embrace gratitude, a life of gratitude, you enjoy the beauty of life: you savor victories and effectively process disappointments. Disappointments are natural human experiences, but we should never live in fear of disappointments; we should live in expectation of one thing—the good.

A spirit that expects the good, found in the heart of a person committed to permitting herself or himself to receive the fruits of truth, love, and justice, is necessary to maintain joy and peace.

Allow nobody or anything to displace you from joy and peace.

Always remain honest with yourself.

Although in this late stage of capitalism, where Guy Debord’s notion of “the society of the spectacle” is decidedly more pronounced, you may feel compelled to project a phony public image, which leads you to becoming nothing more than a spectacle, love yourself enough to give the world your truth. If you’re not happy, then don’t display a happy facade.

Give the world your best—even if your best is a temporary period of unhappiness. The world knows you’re human; don’t try to be a robot, falling prey to self-deceit. 

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro: A Summary

The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

Ben Shapiro’s The Right Side of History (2019) is a thorough defense of Western civilization and the religious and philosophical thought that has supported it. The author attempts to provide of an understanding of the centuries of thought that have developed and maintained the West, and he attacks threats to the dominant thought that has been central to defining the West.

For Shapiro, people desiring to be happy must pursue a life of moral purpose. The writer posits that the reason so many Americans do not have a positive outlook about the future is they are not living lives centered on moral purpose.

Ben Shapiro argues that the United States was the first nation to be grounded in philosophy. He cites Thomas Jefferson’s comments about the Declaration of Independence as an effort to ingrain the thought of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and other great philosophers into the fabric of America.

The Right Side of History advocates for strong opposition to efforts to weaken individual rights in America.

The author contends that the modern American political left has embraced tribal identity, which, in his view, abandons Western civilization’s philosophical traditions. Instead of supporting truth, reason, and the pursuit of virtue, Shapiro asserts that the American political left has abandoned the aforementioned for victimhood.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

New Beginnings, New Opportunities

Happy Black Woman

(Photo Credit: Mommy Noire)

Sometimes you have to allow yourself to move away from stagnant, declining and decaying spaces to offer yourself new opportunities to reach your highest potential. Too often people’s talents aren’t able to be used or are being wasted in unproductive spaces. Embracing the status quo and/or being overtaken by a spirit of complacency leads people to develop a false consciousness that they’re truly at “home” in these restrictive spaces. When you feel like you’re not growing and aren’t able to maximize your potential, it can be quite useful to consider the spaces you’re occupying.  Are you really happy where you are in life right now?  If you’re not, you may want to contemplate the impact the spaces you frequent or dwell in are having on your ability to experience happiness.

Don’t simply stay in a place to make the people around you happy.  Why would you want to live a miserable life just to make other people happy? Does not your own happiness matter too?  If you’re going to be truly happy and successful, you must have a willingness to take risks.  Find a successful person who never took a risk.  Let me save you some time: you won’t find one.

When you depart from spaces you have frequented or inhabited for a long time, it’s natural to experience some separation anxiety as a result of leaving people you love. Take the necessary time to deal with the impact of this separation anxiety, but don’t lose sight of the true happiness and prosperity you desire to materialize.  At some point, you’re going to have to learn the importance of keeping your emotions in check. Successful people don’t give their emotions the power to rule them; they rule their emotions.  If you allow your emotions to run you, then you will make many emotional decisions; emotional decisions are often poor and damaging decisions.

You may have to try or learn some new things to make room for new beginnings and new opportunities.  Don’t get frustrated with the new thing you have to learn.  You have to understand that the new thing you have to learn is a part of the process of getting to the life you long to live. The path to success is not going to be easy and it’s not going to come without some struggle.  When you muster the courage to pursue new beginnings and new opportunities, you have to develop a resolute mindset to meet your aspirations.  You have to be determined to accomplish your goals no matter what comes your way.

Recognize that there will be people who will attempt to discourage you from pursuing new beginnings and new opportunities, but you must view them as only hindrances.  Don’t permit a single hindrance to stifle your progress in any way.  Keep pushing forward, even if you have to push your hindrances literally out of the way.

Be excited about pursuing new beginnings and new opportunities.  One of the amazing things about life is you never know what great opportunity will come your way.  It’s up to you, however, to engender an environment where new beginnings and new opportunities run to you instead of run away from you.

Life becomes sweeter and sweeter when we’re open to change.  Change can be good for you.  Go ahead and give yourself a chance to be a better you!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 33rd Birthday to Santresa L. Glass

Santresa L. Glass

Look at those cheekbones! Lol!

I want to take this opportunity to wish Santresa L. Glass, my best friend, a Happy 33rd Birthday!  I appreciate your friendship and love.  Each day, my understanding of the value of your friendship and love becomes clearer.  I am so proud of all the things you’ve accomplished.  At 33 years old, you are proving to get better with time.  Although some people believe that your posts on Facebook (including your pictures), your tweets, and Instagram pictures/posts are attempts to present yourself as being more than you really are, those individuals truly don’t know you.  If they really knew you, as I do, they would know that the glow they see is authentic happiness.  I may (notice the emphasis on “may”) tolerate people attacking me for a little while, but one thing I will not tolerate is any attacks on my best friend, Santresa L. Glass.  I don’t mind getting life without the possibility of parole for annihilating anyone who would try to attack and do you harm.  Believe that!

I’m truly proud of you for being so close to completing your doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership at Argosy University.  Although some are already trying to downplay and criticize you for obtaining your doctoral degree online, they are simply “toxic mushrooms” (I’m pretty sure you can appreciate that term).  I cannot wait to read your doctoral committee approved version of your dissertation!  Oh yeah, for the haters, Santresa is required to pen a dissertation.  It will not be long before I get to call you “Dr. Glass.”  Sounds great, right?

You are beautiful!  You always have been.  Time has only ameliorated your beauty.  You’re not pretending to be beautiful—you simply are!

No one can ever question your authenticity.  You have never been afraid to express who you truly are.  You embrace not only the great things about yourself but also your imperfections.  One of the things I love most about you is your authenticity.  When I’m talking to you, I always know that I’m talking to San and not some inauthentic persona you’ve created to please others.

On this day, take time to reflect on the many blessings God has bestowed to you.  He has a tremendous number of more blessings for you.  Enjoy YOUR day.  Have the best birthday ever.  Again, happy birthday!

Love you,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

My Great Life Produces Great Haters

 

Happiness

(Photo credit: ernohannink)

In many classic literary stories, we read the line: “And they lived happily ever after.”  I truly live a great life.  Even when I’m not having the best day, I still have a smile on my face.  I have been fortunate to accomplish many amazing things and have amassed noteworthy credentials.  I have learned that many people are not going to be pleased with the fact I’m happy.  Over the years, many people have developed a hatred for me.  The reason most of them hate me is I refuse to be like them and/or my happiness, confidence and assertiveness unsettles them.  At the core of all my haters is deep envy.

Many individuals don’t like me because of my lack of interest in getting married right now.  At the moment, I’m focused on my professional and academic life and don’t have any interest to seriously contemplate marriage.  I enjoy my single life.  I’m single by choice—trust me.  All of the people who have negatively criticized me for not being married are not in desirable marriages or relationships.  Although many people don’t want to admit it, there are many advantages to remaining single.  For those Christians who like to harshly criticize me for not being married, I want them to study First Corinthians more.  In First Corinthians, Paul explains that it is better for a person to stay single, considering he or she is in a better position to serve Christ.

Many people argue that it’s weird for an almost 32 year old man to not be married or involved in a solemn relationship with a woman.  Well, when did I say I was striving to not be “weird”?  Too often the constructions of “normal” are about hegemony, assimilation and conformity.  I’m a revolutionary—not a status quo guy.  An almost 32 year old Black man can be happily single, devoted to his professional career and doctoral studies and not be a homosexual.  Trust me, I don’t have time to be straight, bisexual, homosexual, or asexual.  Lol!

Moreover, my haters hate because I don’t downplay my achievements, credentials and knowledge to pacify their inadequacies.  Many people want me to agree with them always—that’s never going to happen.  They don’t want me to have opinions about various issues that diverge from their opinions.

My haters will even attempt to use something from this article to attack me.  Many will take things out of context from this piece to formulate lies and unmerited attacks.

While many people allow their haters to discourage them, my haters encourage me.  When they attack me, I gain strength from their attacks.  Their attacks let me know I’m doing an outstanding job.  I have learned that you have to turn others’ hatred for you into positive energy.  Although my haters think they bother me, I use my knowledge of the things they envy the most about me against them.  For example, for those who don’t like that I’m getting a Ph.D., I make sure to mention the fact that I’m working to obtain it when I’m around them.  You’ve got to unsettle your haters and they will inevitably flee from you.

I have a wonderful life because I refuse to let anything and anybody prevent me from having one.  The higher your achievements, the larger the number of haters you will have.  Be determined that you’re not going to let anyone and anything stop you from being happy.  Live a happy life with me.  When I die, people will honestly be able to say my life reflects the classic “happily ever after” line.  Guess what?  This will be a fact even if I never get married.

Have the courage to live life without limits.  Be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Boredom Can Lead to Trouble

Bored

On Facebook and Twitter, I often read about how “bored” many people are.  With as many tasks I have to complete each day, I have a difficult time envisaging how any individual who is in middle school and beyond can experience boredom.  Why not read the numerous great books available?  Why not start a blog?  Why not invest more time into studying your core academic subjects, especially those that pose the greatest challenges?  When you feel like you’re bored, this is simply a sign you’re not devoting your time to enough important phenomena.  While you may not feel inclined to make lifestyle changes, I want to warn you that I’ve witnessed too many people get themselves into serious trouble by being “bored” too often.

The answer to being bored is not drinking so many alcoholic beverages you end up attempting to drive your car and then foolishly run into someone on the road and kill him or her.  This can cause you to end up incarceration and then you’re really going to know what boredom truly is.

Although you may live in a small town where there’s not many places to visit to offer you entertainment, you need to learn to gain satisfaction from appropriate things you can do with your time.  For those of you in middle or high school, I would encourage you to participate in as many extracurricular activities as you can.  Join as many clubs as you can.  If there are not clubs or organizations on your campus that interest you, see if there is a faculty member who would be willing to start a formal organization or club that interests you and others.  If you cannot get a faculty member to help you to start the type of organization or club you desire to be a member of, then partner with other students and form the club or organization.  You will find that there’s nothing wrong with having an informal club or organization.

Make the most of your time.  Life is too short for you to waste most of your time talking about you’re bored.  One of the best ways to terminate boredom is to find things you can do to help others.  Your life will be more rewarding when you give some of your time to helping others.  Many people are always bored because they are empty on the inside.  When you share some of your time assisting others, your life will have more meaning.

Allowing yourself to be bored can cause you to make poor choices; choices that may impact you for a long time or forever.  Be the master of your own behavior.  Don’t let your body control you—you control your body.

If you’re a college student and you find yourself bored, this means you’re wasting valuable time that you could be investing in increasing the prospect of you obtaining a job after you graduate or improving your chances to gain adequate funding for graduate school.  It may be useful for you to get a part-time job to occupy some of the time you believe needs to be filled, and this will enable you to make some needed money.

Don’t let your idle mind be your tragic flaw.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Value of Your Funk: Part One

Too many people attempt to bury their imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to them. Those aforementioned things are what I call “funk.” All human beings are funky because no one is perfect. We all, therefore, are funky because of our inability to be perfect. People have to face the reality that their funk will always be present—there’s no escaping it. What can I do about my funk? You should never try to mask, hide, replicate, and ignore your funk. A significant number of individuals fail to understand their funk is valuable.

When you never deal frankly, boldly, critically, and thoroughly with the things about yourself and your life that are unpleasing to you, then you’re not only missing a meaningful opportunity to capitalize on the value of those unpleasing phenomena, but also you’re preventing yourself from being truly whole and liberated. You cannot truly be a whole and liberated person when you’re carrying life’s funk with you that you refuse to deal with in such a serious way that your funk is no longer a liability but now an asset. More people are going to have to deal with their low self-esteem or the problems with their self-esteem. Self-esteem problems are at the root cause of many of the important problems people experience in America.

People who are overly sensitive about the most infinitesimal phenomena reveal the disadvantages of living a life without an appreciation of the funk. Their self-esteem quandaries cause them to see their funk in only a negative light. Many people are constantly trying to hide from who they really are because of the fear they have of what people in their environment will say about them if they elect to be themselves. You will never prosper when you run away from who you really are. Moreover, you will never know who you really are when you never give yourself a chance to be real with yourself.

People know you’re phony when you always attempt to present yourself as perfect—like there is nothing in your past and present that doesn’t stink.

Funk stinks—face it!

Too many people are overly focused on doing and saying the things pleasing to those around them. They neglect the precious time each day presents to move closer to understanding themselves more and to engage in the critical self-examination necessary to becoming the best human beings they can be. When people are doing better than you, don’t let envy and jealousy consume you. The time you’re investing in being envious and jealous can serve you better if you devote it to working on your own progression. When you’re concentrated on your own progression, you will not have time to hate on others. You might find that you will become a happier person when you’re happy for other people doing well.

For the things negative things in your life that you’re responsible for, it’s time for you to own those things. When you try to transfer your funk over to other people, it’s still your funk, although an attempt to transfer your funk may result in others having to share the burden on your funk. Please, therefore, don’t make efforts place the encumbrance of your funk on others. If you’re miserable, don’t go around attempting to make others miserable. You’re miserable because you want to be miserable. If you’re miserable, don’t deny it—do something about it! Recognize that who you really are is someone special. However, if you don’t know who you really are, or have intentionally made yourself a fusion of multiple personalities to appease society (and your family and friends), you’re not special. In order to be special, you have to be willing to be yourself.

What’s wrong with being yourself? Nothing!

Muster the courage to handle your funk and you will live a better, freer, and happier life.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison