Am I REALLY Like This?
You know, in recent weeks I’ve been feeling like I’m spending a lot of time in a confessional. Why? Because I’m openly sharing things that I’ve only shared privately with family and close friends. The motivation behind my openness is an awareness that to some people, I come across as a hyperactive, overly-exuberant cheerleader. It’s not uncommon for people to wonder if I’m for real, or if I’m putting on some kind of act.
The answer to that question is no. It’s not an act. I’m as real as you get. When I’m living in the moment (which I do a lot), I feed off the energy around me to the point where even I wonder when I’ll start bouncing off the walls. The more positive the energy, the more enthusiastic I get. I get especially animated when I’m having a conversation about finding one’s passion or moving into a place of happiness. Having said that, I know that my enthusiasm can be very annoying to some people. I’ve never had anyone be openly hostile toward me, but I’ve had people say something pretty nasty things behind my back. Perhaps the most frequent (and benign) comment is, “Nobody can be that happy all the time!”
They’re right. I’m not happy all the time. I’m happy most of the time, and when I’m not, I keep the sad times private, or I only let my family and really close friends see it. And as I said in my post about coping mechanisms, I see my natural exuberance and zest for life as a fortunate counterbalance to my lifelong relationship with chronic depression.
As I travel more frequently and I speak to more groups, I find that it’s important for me to be open about my very human experiences. It’s easy to go around saying, “Just be happy!”, but it’s just as easy for listeners to react with skepticism and say, “Yeah… right! What planet do you live on?” I therefore make a point of sharing things about myself – some of them being very personal – so that my students can see that I have to practice what I preach every day.
I’m realistic about the very real challenges that all of us face – especially those of us staring at depression. I know what it’s like to be in that place where the only thought that makes you happy is one of suicide. I know what it’s like to feel alone and abandoned in a crowded room. I know what it’s like to wonder if people even notice me – or if they even care.
By the way, I also know what it’s like to doubt what I hear and to have the automatic response of, “Yeah, but my life is different.” All I can say is this: Individual circumstances may differ, but the principles governing our response to those circumstances are universal.
My Reflections on Reality are simply musings and observations taken from my own experiences. Because of that, I’ve decided that I’m okay with being open and candid about the challenges I have faced and currently face. Candor allows me to be honest and practical, and to convey the message that lasting happiness is not only possible, but very achievable. It is therefore my sincere hope that you find my Reflections useful.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that if our paths ever cross, know that you will always see the real me – all of me – even if it seems like I can’t possibly be that cheerful or playful. So yes, I really am like this – regardless of which “this” you see.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.