Does anyone else feel exhausted from pretending to be happy and you are going through pure hell? No one aspires to be phony, or hang out in a relationship where they can't be real. Surely, no amount of pretending can substitute for connections to caring people with whom you can deepen and refine the truths you tell about yourself over time.
But it's also true that moping around and feeling sorry for yourself-although it may be absolutely necessary at a particular time-can lead to more of the same and simply smiling can help. TheThich Nhat Hanh, a spiritual leader and peace activist, encourages us to smile often and notes that the act of smiling relaxes the muscles of the face and has many benefits. His work has inspired many people to smile as part of a spiritual practice.
Sometimes I encourage those in my circle to engage in creative acts of pretending, not to run from the truth, but rather to discover new truths. Pretending joy or happiness can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, helping us discover or enhance our capacity for these positive feelings.
Consider doing an experiment for ten days. Pretend that you feel fine, even happy. Observe the results of your own experiment. See if you ultimately feel a greater sense of zest for life and more empowered to act on your own behalf-or not.
P.S. If you're a person who always appears to have it together, and who doesn't share problems or vulnerability, ignore this advice. You may need to experiment with the opposite. Authenticity and good self- esteem requires that we can share our strengths and competence as well as our vulnerabilities and weaknesses (we all have both) in a balanced way.
Posted on 05/25/2016 at 07:45:00 PM