Good advice or lending to the inauthenticity of our mask-loving culture?
Fake it ’til you make it.
Since the very first time I heard this saying, something inside me cringed and cramped. I have had bouts of depression and people would tell me, "You just have to fake it 'til you make it." Every time I tried to fake the smile and the attitude, I wanted to cry and scream even more. Yet, so many people continued to tell me, you just have to try harder. In essence, what I heard was that I was doing it wrong which just supported the stories in my head that I was unworthy and incapable.
What I learned during my shifts and my healing is that faking it was never the way for true internal change – at least for me. I needed real action in order to shift my mood and my ‘tude.
So here’s a different 2-step approach to moving the emotion without manufacturing inauthenticity.
#1 Figure out how we want to feel.
We already know we don’t want to feel however we’re feeling, but how do we really want to feel?
Happy doesn’t count. What are the feelings that would create happy for you? Happy is a very general term so we need to get the feelings that make up happiness for us. What were you doing the last time you were happy? What were the feelings that you felt at the time?
For me, it’s freedom, grace, abundance and playful. That’s how I really want to feel. Can you see how those words are different than just happy? They give me more to work with for step 2.
#2 Do something that makes you feel that way.
Now that you know how you want to feel, come up with actions that can trigger those feelings. Think about the last time you felt those ways and what you were doing at the time. This should give you somewhere to start. Here’s some examples from my armory:
- Freedom: I can go for a long drive without a destination. I can bike. I can also work on paying off debt, or look into doing something new if my current career feels like a ball and chain.
- Grace: I think of queenly grace so I wear a tiara as I wash the dishes or sit for high-tea on my back porch. I can also dance or do some yoga.
- Abundance: I practice gratitude. It’s hard not to feel abundance when we think of everything we have already. It’ll also prep us for receiving more. I also give to charity or those less fortunate which reminds me of my abundance.
- Playful: I can dress up in bright colors (which is rather unusual for me). I can play with my dog in the backyard or pull out the Twister for the family to play.
That’s all there is to it. Instead of faking the feelings and pretending to be a Positive Pollyanna, we are looking to feel authentically how we want to. We can do it as long as we know what we want to feel and give ourselves some great self-care options to support those feelings.
I’m not saying it isn’t a bit of work. We can all get stuck in hopeless or depressive moods. We can make the choice to move ourselves out. Even if it’s a slow process, you can feel good about taking actual action steps to changing it. Just one little action step at a time. For me, it's a lot easier than inauthenticity.