The common myth that is perpetuated in society is that the normal person is happy, balanced and integrated – otherwise there is something wrong with them; maybe they’re mentally unstable. We’re even alarmed by unhappy people. Everyone in the media is smiling and cheerful. The politicians are all smiling, cheerful. confident; funeral homes even make the corpses up to look smiling, cheerful and confident.
Meanwhile however, perhaps you’re not smiling and you don’t feel cheerful and confident. You know you can’t live up to any of the images of the model person. You don’t have the right appearance or status symbols, your performance doesn’t cut it, you’re out of touch with the latest trends, or maybe you are just poor – someone whom society doesn’t want to acknowledge. Unhappiness in Western culture is often treated as a sign of failure. Others think, “They’re not happy, maybe they didn’t do enough. And maybe they’ll want something from me so I’d better steer away from them”
Ajahn Sucitto, Turning the Wheel of Truth