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Lorrie scored in the middle range of the satisfaction test and says people often mistake her for being happy because she puts on a false front, whether she's being a room mom for one of her six children or attending a PTA meeting.

Dr. Holden gets to the root of her dissatisfaction. "You're so good at helping everybody else, I think you're in danger of leaving yourself out of your own life," Dr. Holden says. "What we have here is a classic what I call a martyr ethic, which is where we're putting everybody else first instead of ourselves."

In fact, Dr. Holden says Lorrie can help herself and give an important gift to her family—her own happiness. "I know you ... want your children to be happy, and I tell you this: You can't just tell them to be happy. You show them with your example. And that's the big key," Dr. Holden says.

Lorrie can start today by simply asking for help. "I think the big mistake here, and it's a common one, is that we try to do our lives by ourselves," Dr. Holden says. "It's time to stop being a super mom and start being a real mom."
FROM: How Happy Are You?
Published on April 11, 2007