As promised, today’s blog is Part II of our “Ownership” series. Last week I talked about how potentially unhealthy it is to continue ‘giving’ out of a place of lack or brokenness. As a general rule, learning to give from a place of emotional health or even overflow is so important for longevity and happiness in this life. However, this is not to say that you have to be completely emotionally healthy before you step out to give something back to the world. Let’s face it, when are we ever completely “fixed”?? Never, I reckon! We are all constantly travelling up and down a continuum of wellness. So in many cases, we can employ the “Fake it Till You Make It” policy. This is how it works:
If I am depressed, my whole body feels low. My thoughts are dark and sad. My body feels heavy and devoid of energy. Everything in me wants to hide from the world and everybody in it.
There are so many factors that contribute to depression or low mood - there’s no magic wand unfortunately. Often, if you are very low it's important to get some external help. But one thing I know does help you to make change is the “Fake it till you make it” policy. In no way does this mean putting on a mask and pretending that things are ok (when they clearly are not). However, in any process of change, there WILL be a period where there is a sometimes large discrepancy between feelings and reality. Let me explain. If I’m feeling very low and bad about myself, the last thing I want to do is look after myself or do anything good for myself. But taking care of myself is exactly what I need to do to change those negative thoughts and feelings. And my body feels tired so I don’t feel like I have the energy to exercise – but gentle exercise and fresh air is the exact thing that will break my cycle of immobility and exhaustion. SO in the above cases ‘faking it’ refers to taking positive action regardless of whether or not I’m feeling positive. Amazingly, what ends up happening is that my feelings soon align themselves with the new actions I’m taking.
Another example of this is with Anxiety. Did you know that excitement creates exactly the same physical body reactions as fear? The difference though is that fear holds me back whereas excitement pulls me forward. For example, if I have a speech that I am about to make and I tell myself I’m going to panic and not do well at all; then I’ll panic and mess it up. However, if I instead tell myself that this giddy feeling I’m experiencing is excitement, I’ll move forward with anticipation.
Let me tell you about the Half Smile. Did you know that smiling has specific biological consequence? This means that smiling has physical body reactions that make us feel happier and want to smile more! So even if you’re feeling completely rotten, pulling your face into a little ‘Half Smile’ will actually begin to change your mood. Give it a go!
I’ll act as if I’m confident until my confidence catches up with me.
I’ll treat myself with dignity and respect until I begin to truly love myself.
I’ll speak kind words to myself and others, until I’m more comfortable believing them.
As I do this, I am re-wiring my brain, my emotions, my thoughts and my physical body. This is “faking it till you make it.”
In reference to last week’s blog, we might not have things fully sorted before we move to share our lives with others. I guess it’s not so much about WHAT we’re doing as WHY we’re doing it. If I am giving to you because it makes me feel like less of a failure for a second, then that’s not so helpful; because my ‘failure’ is driving my behaviour. But, if I am giving to you because I know I’m a good person; and I’m learning to live out of my sense of ‘goodness’ rather than ‘failure’ then that’s FANTASTIC!!
So there we go! Fake it Till You Make It and the Half Smile. They may seem like little things, but they can make powerful change in your life!
I'd love to hear any thoughts or questions you might have!