How to Build a Happy Life

What It Means to Be You

In the social-media age, we curate images of our lives on a screen—making it especially easy to translate images of perfection as the image of oneself. But the pressure to pretend we are perfect is exactly the thing holding us back from experiencing the happiness we seek—and limiting our ability to be our whole, authentic selves. 

In this episode of How to Build a Happy Life, we’ll define what we mean by “authenticity” and explore the psychological underpinnings of our ego-driven identities. A conversation with the clinical psychologist and mindfulness expert Dr. Shefali helps us work through one of the most challenging questions of all: Who am I?

This episode was produced by Rebecca Rashid and is hosted by Arthur C. Brooks. Editing by A. C. Valdez. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Sound design by Michael Raphael.

Be part of How to Build a Happy Life. Write to us at howtopodcast@theatlantic.com or leave us a voicemail at 925.967.2091.

Music by Trevor Kowalski (“Lion’s Drift,” “This Valley of Ours,” “Una Noche De Luces”), Stationary Sign (“Loose in the Park”), and Spectacles Wallet and Watch (“Last Pieces”).

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Try out this week’s tool-kit exercise, “The Chipping-Away Exercise,” and apply these lessons to your own life! Tag us on social media with #thechippingawayexercise, and listen to full-length episodes of How to Build a Happy Life at theatlantic.com/happy.

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