Faux fun vs Real fun

Hey Y’all:

Hope you are all having a fantastic day!

The other day I posted a photo of myself in a bathing suit, bikini no less, on Facebook. I got a ton of responses from both men and women saying I looked great.

beach babay

It was strange to me to get these e-mails because I saw the picture as something so different. I look at it and the word “silly” comes to mind.

I appreciate all the compliments, I truly do, but the idea of sexy or hot is so foreign to me in this picture. Having fun on a beautiful summer day with a friend, in a silly hat, in a silly pose with a shit eating grin on my face letting all of my imperfections hang out. As soon as Pam took the picture I lost my balance and stumbled because I am such a klutz.

I see a 46 year old girl that feels the same as she did with this same friend at age 20. Actually, that isn’t true. This girl at 46 is happier and more at home in her own skin than she was at 20.

When I look at the picture I see carefree with no stress and looking like a goofball.

I feel like I look like ME.


For the past few years we have had so much stress that I feel like the person I have been showing up as is stressed out, worried and carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. Steve tells me at times that I look stressed out. Says he can see it on my face. I am sure other people can see it too they just don’t say anything.

I am big on making sure I have fun in my life. Too many people just get up, go to work, come home have dinner, watch TV and do it all over again the next day. Weekends are spent doing errands and chores. I make it a purpose to do something fun for me every weekend. It may just be a walk in the dog park with friends but I do something for me every weekend that brings me joy.

having fun

But the trick is you have to actually have fun. Going through the motions doesn’t count and I feel like I have been doing just that for awhile now. I teach having fun in my coaching workshops and yet for so long I wasn’t doing what I was teaching. Maybe I need to teach a class on how to have fun even when you have big stress in your life. Guess I need to learn how first…

I found an article about Faux fun and real fun from author Martha Beck, whom I LOVE. Here is what she had to say about the difference between real and fake fun.

If you’re not clear which is which, the following factors can help you spot a fake:

1. Faux fun helps you ignore problems; real fun helps you face them.
In high school I had a group of talented friends who defined fun as playing fantasy games and smoking pot. The more stress they felt at school, the more they pursued “fun” that helped them ignore their anxiety and its underlying causes. Another group of friends tackled school stress by scheduling study sessions during which everyone would work in silence for periods of half an hour, with breaks in between spent talking and joking. The companionship of these friends may not sound very hip, but I found it more fun than the thinly veiled distress of my pothead buddies.

2. Faux fun gets boring; real fun never does.
Real sources of fun are what psychologists call renewable pleasures, enjoyable no matter how many times you do them. For example, if you’re getting just enough food, eating will be fun for you at every meal. But if you’re devouring more than your body needs, you’ll need more and more exotic treats to make food interesting (I indulge in this form of faux fun every December, without fail).

If you have a voracious need for more and more expensive toys, prestigious awards, kinky sex, and so on, the root of your craving probably isn’t the sparkle of real fun, but an inner void.

3. If you’re having real fun, you’ll never regret it.

Guzzling a gallon of tequila may be fun for a while, but eventually, it’s going to make you feel like hell. The same is true of all faux-fun pursuits: You can identify them by their wretched aftermath.

The discomforts of alcohol abuse are obvious, but all faux fun creates a hangover. Have you ever had a conversation that seemed enjoyable but left you feeling wary or uneasy? Your instincts are telling you that at least part of the fun was false. I’ve experienced this after interactions where either I or some other person was dishonest, mean-spirited, or passive. Often I didn’t see the problem until a disturbance in the Fun Force prompted me to identify and change my behavior.

4. Real fun makes everyone feel better; faux fun makes everyone feel worse.
I recently read an interview with a radio shock jock who spends virtually all his on-air time humiliating people. This man is constantly smiling and laughing, as are his guests, though many of them later seem traumatized (one committed suicide after appearing on the show). At one point the reporter asked the shock jock how he was feeling at the moment. “I’m sad,” he answered with admirable candor. “I’m always sad.” Apparently, this man isn’t really “making fun” at all. He’s making sadness, not only for the people he mocks but for himself. We can’t do deliberate harm without damaging our own psyches, especially if we’re dysfunctional enough to call it fun.

Our stress level is so much lower now. When I look at the picture I guess what I see is me truly being relaxed and having fun. For me, the picture captures exactly how I felt that day: relaxed, having fun and being silly with a friend.

Finally Real fun and not Faux fun.

Question of the day: What do you do for fun when you are stressed out?

This entry was posted in friends, fun, Stress, weekend and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Faux fun vs Real fun

  1. Because you and I talk a lot about weight and our tummies, I had to comment on how fantastic your body looks. It looks like a 21 year old kid!!!! Like yourself, I had been going through the motions of having fun but the stress of life has been my constant companion. However, this summer is gonna a summer of real fun regardless of the weight on my shoulders. You are my inspiration.

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks, Maria. The compliments came as a such a surprise to me because I just saw a stress less me having fun, finally! Wasn’t looking at how I looked in my bathing suit, I noticed my face. Life is a struggle we all share. You have inspired me in so many ways with your passion for life. We’re all in it together.

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