Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cheerfulness Vs. Authenticity

(very cheesy-- just as a warning ;D)

I want to be a cheerful person.

 Like Lily James's Cinderella who can shake off adversity and "have courage and be kind".

I want to be like Lady Rose from Downton Abbey whose parents were un-ideal and whose father-in-law was often unkind, and whose first fiance was basically forced into rejecting her because of unfortunate societal standards and who smiled despite of it.

I want to be like Beth from Little Women and Sam from Lord of the Rings and Cos from Singing in the Rain. Like Jane from Pride and Prejudice and Cosette from Les Miserables.

I want to be a blogger who posts happy things and talks unceasingly about the awesome parts of my life.

Like the smiling people who can laugh at tribulations and rave about their blessings.  

I also want to be authentic. 

I don't want to hide behind a crusty mask of cheerfulness. I don't want you to think that I live the life of a movie star. 

The truth is that I am an incredibly blessed person. Blessed to be a Christian, blessed to live in a Christian home, blessed to experience religious freedom, blessed with daily provisions, blessed with friends, blessed with internet, blessed with this blog, blessed with the people I've met through Blogger, blessed with access to all 6 Downton Abbey seasons, blessed with a dog, and blessed with bookshelves full of books to consume. 

But that doesn't mean I don't have struggles in my life. Many of them are self-induced, some of them aren't. They'd all probably be more bearable with a cheerful attitude. 

So where do I draw the line? Where do I find a distinction between "grumbling and complaining", which is condemned in the Bible, and being cheerful to the point of dishonesty? 

I don't want my readers to think that I live in a Jell-O castle with some "bad things"-proof fence around it. 

Maybe the answer requires the motives of cheerfulness or so-called "authenticity". Why do I write/act cheerfully? 

Is it due to the joy of the gospel which shines through me? Is it because I want you to like me? Is it because I want you to follow my blog? Is it because I want to make myself happier?  

The trouble is that I think the answer is more "yes" to the three last questions than to first. 

Why might I want to be "authentic" on my blog(or in real life, for that matter)? 

Is it because I want to preserve honesty or not make people unduly jealous? Or is it because I want people to feel sorry for me and "know the things I suffer"? Or because I think being authentic will elevate me to a new level of spirituality and relevancy? 

I don't know. I think I have mixed motives. Unpure motives for a not wholly bad thing. 

Hmmm. *insert awkward pause for me to collect my thoughts* I'm going to try to still be cheerful, I think, but I don't want you to think I live in some sort of protected, super-life. None of us do. 

Maybe I should end this jumble like so: 

Don't think my life is perfect just because I  try to avoid complaining. In my life too, there are things that sometimes compromise my smile; circumstances that can aggravate good spirits; frustrations to cry over in the shower. 

But I am a hugely blessed individual and while I can reflect the grace of God in cheerfulness and make this blog a happier place, I think I will. 

So what do you think, readers? Where do you "draw the line"? Do you think it's possible to be both cheerful and authentic? 

Sorry...that was cheesy, I know. But can we take a moment to appreciate that I got through a whole post without mentioning politics? :D 


  1. That was amazing. Honestly I hadn't thought about that line between cheerfulness and authenticity before, but your post really made me think.

    Since everyone has struggles in life, I think the way to be authentically cheerful is to depend on something other than this life. The most cheerful people I've met are the ones who have a sense of God's presence and his work in their lives. So while the world is amazing and beautiful, when there are not-so-amazing-and-beautiful things going on, God is really the only one who can satisfy.

    As C.S. Lewis the Amazing wrote, "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."

    And yes, thank you so much for not mentioning politics!

    1. Good! I'm glad I made you think. :)

      Yeah, I agree. I wish I'd expounded on that a little more in the post, that true cheerfulness, not cheerfulness added like a layer of makeup to my attitude, comes from God.

      Ooh, nice C. S. Lewis quote. Aren't they all? ;)

      Haha, it's been a hot topic in or house lately so it was refreshing to think abut something else for a while.

      By the way, how has NaNoWriMo been going?

    2. True, pretty much every C.S. Lewis quote is amazing.

      NaNoWriMo is going well. I've been making the minimum word count for each day so I'm at 11,000+ words right now, but if I have a some busy days in which I can't write (and a couple are coming up), I'll be left behind in the dust. So right now I'm trying to motivate myself to take the jump and write extra for each day, but the problem is I'm not that into my story. I thought I would be more motivated, but it seems like I'm more motivated by the deadline than my enjoyment of writing. Perhaps it's because this is the first time I've written something of this length, so I just need to get comfortable with it...I dunno.

      Wow, that was long! The short answer is it's going smoothly, but I need to up my word count.

      You should do it next year, if you have the time. It's definitely satisfying and it's encouraging to get words out on the page when the perfection of the writing doesn't really matter.

      P.S. I have a NaNo progress widget on my blog if you're ever curious about my word count. :)

    3. Good! I know what you mean about finding more motivation in the deadline than in the actually activity. That's the way I feel sometimes about reading challenges...

      I hope you can keep up on the word count and get into your story a little more before November is over!

      I was just checking your widget, thanks for pointing that out. :D

      I'd definitely like to do it at some point. Things are a little up in the air right now for what my next school year will look like, so there's the possibility whatever we decide will provide flexibility for something like NaNoWriMo. Either way, the following year(senior year) is my best shot at finding time and a school plan that will allow for it. We'll see...

  2. I think it's definitely possible to be both "cheerful" and "authentic." Nobody is happy all the time, but many people do have a cheery disposition, you might say. I myself am disposed to be happy and cheerful, and want to help others be happy and cheerful too. I have a lot of crummy days, but my default setting is not, "Woe is me," so for me, cheerfulness and authenticity and sincerity go hand-in-hand. Does that make sense?

    1. That makes sense!

      I know that I can often feel discouraged on social media when it makes everyone else's life look so much better than my own, so I wanted to be authentic and let my readers know that I don't live in some sort of utopia. But at the same time one can always discuss struggles and discouragements with a cheerful attitude, so it really doesn't have to be an either/or dilemma.


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