Thursday, April 16, 2015
Today I am grateful I can fake it until I feel it. Ouch. That sounds harsh. . .and wrong on some level. . .but I’m sticking with it. Fake it until you feel it. Let me explain.
This last week I had some “blue” days. They annoy me. I don’t do blue days. I forbid blue days. I shun blue days. But there they were, niggling at me and making me feel close to tears and angry for not rising above the feelings. So I took my own advice and faked it until I felt it. But not right away. First I hollered and cried and swore and felt majorly sorry for myself. Then I felt sorry for everyone I know who is going through crap and pouted and even threw a few things. That might sound crazy, but it’s really crazy-healthy. For me, anyway. All of that still didn’t brighten my mood, but I had reached my personal limit on allowed blue-days, so I had to fake it until I felt it.
We all have stuff happening in our lives. Many people I know are getting questionable diagnosis’ on their health every day. It makes my head spin what people I care about are dealing with. There is always some illness knocking at the door and not all of the people answering the door are old, like me. Shit happens. I hate it. You hate it. We all hate it. It happens anyway. Hating it doesn’t make it go away. Neither does getting sucked in.
People lose jobs; or houses; or financial security; or are betrayed by friends; or feel alone even when they aren’t; or feel sorry for themselves because of any number of reasons. Sometimes we have to feel sorry for ourselves because we are the only ones who know how much we feel. . .or hurt. If we don’t treat ourselves well who else will? Good point. But I can’t stay there. I-cannot-stay-there! Some people with chemical glitches and lingering issues are simply not capable of snapping out of it. I don’t judge them for their inability to cope. But that doesn’t pertain to me. . . so as hard as it may be I have to pull myself out of it and fake it until I feel it.
I’m a fixer. If someone I know has trauma, I wanna make pails of food, tear sheets and boil water. I want a big Band-Aid for every life situation that happens to my family or friends. My first instinct in any given situation is to rush in, wave my magic wand and make everything all better. This type of grandiose gesture is rarely what people who are faced with a challenge need. Many just need time. And space to find their own power and strength. I hate that. Because it means I have to back-off. . .give space. . .and I don’t like gaps. Gaps feel uncomfortable to me. I like filled-in spaces with noise and activity. But my way is not always the right way. Shocker! Did I just admit that? Bummer.
There was a time in my life when I needed to bawl and I held it back because I was afraid to appear weak. Then I met a bunch of women who said, “Doesn’t matter to us! You’re not going to make us bawl. This is your crap to own and not ours, so bawl away.” I did. A lot. It was nice to have permission. It also meant I didn’t have to “own” their stuff. I can only be responsible for my own emotions and not anyone else’s.
Now, when I hear of the plight of someone and it makes me feel bad, I ask myself, “Is it my turn to bawl? Or theirs?” If it’s their stuff, probably I’m just feeling empathy, which is great, but then I have to take a number and wait for their move. If it’s not my turn, then I have to be strong for them. They don’t need me blubbering about how bad I feel for them because they already know.
I do have a job to do for them and it isn’t to help them feel worse. They need me. They count on me. So I have to support them, laugh with them, laugh AT them, make a horrible situation stupid, ridiculous, hilarious. . . until its power is reduced to meaningless. I need to support them while they learn how to fake it until they feel it.
Some people reading this might be getting pissed. It’s okay. Maybe it’s your turn to be pissed. Some might think I’m full of crap and advocating denying every honest emotion we have. I am not. Far from it. I have a billion honest emotions every second of every day. But if my emotions are based on someone else’s stuff I gotta remember it’s not my stuff. I have to wait my turn, for when it’s MY stuff. Sadly I won’t have to wait long. That’s what’s called living life!
I might be incredulous about a friend’s situation. They have real problems. . .life threatening issues. . .big stuff. . .and they really don’t need me moping around, with a sad-dog look on my face. They need my energy so they can find some for themselves. It’s not my turn this time. If I want to really help them, I better learn to fake it. For them.
And it doesn’t take too long before the weirdest thing happens. All of a sudden, out of the blue, I start to really feel it! No more faking. And I wonder how I got there. They will get there, too. Because this “fake it until you feel it”, mind-over-matter-positive-thinking stuff works!