I know. You’ve been told over and over to fake it till you make it. It’s terrible advice. Stop doing that.
Okay, to be fair this is a 12 step saying that somehow made it into mainstream vernacular.It’s not in the 12-in-12 or The Big Book, but it’s a saying that has made it around the rooms for a long, long time.
The idea isat a lot of alcoholics have been doing exactly what they want for a long time. Because alcoholism is a disease that runs in families, a lot of alcoholics haven’t had acceptable behavior modeled for them. So faking it can sometimes refer to acting right. The idea is that first you act right and then you’ll feel right.
For people with anxiety and depression, who are not alcoholics, the saying is terrible, terrible advice. We’ve been faking it for a really long time. A lot of us are terrified to feel our emotions and scared of acting on those emotions. Anxiety/depression people are the people who don’t often know what they want. We’re used to going along with the crowd. We don’t listen to your bodies. We get dehydrated, exhausted, and don’t notice what happens to our bodies when we eat poorly.
Are you someone who, when asked, doesn’t know where you want to eat? Do you often say, I don’t care OR It’s up to you? Do the words Self Care baffle you?
So I propose that if you’re someone who often feels disconnected from your body and your experience in the moment, you’ve probably been faking it way too often. You are not alone. If you’re a woman, especially a woman over 40, you’ve probably been taught to push your own feelings and needs aside and take care of the people around you; their feelings, desires and cravings. You may have even been taught, that taking care of others is a higher purpose, selfless and admirable. That might be true, but not before your own needs.
I’m not joking about the word needs. As women, a lot of us have been taught to disregard our need to eat, pee, rest, sleep, have fun, if there is ANYONE is our life that needs something. If you’ve got a baby under a year, this might be okay. Otherwise, you’re not loving yourself enough.
When we get the rare hour/day/weekend alone we’re at a loss of what to do for ourselves. Too often, we fill our time with laundry, running errands, cooking ahead, mostly things for the others in our lives or things that will make our lives easier in the future. So then, we think we’ve indulged in some self-care. Let me be clear. Getting ahead of chores for your family, no matter how good it makes you feel about yourself, is NOT self-care.
Self-care is you taking care of you in a way that re-energizes you and serves only you. I know that getting a haircut can re-energize you and that’s a wonderful thing, but that’s maintenance. As is taking a shower, shaving, painting your nails, going for a run.
What I’ve learned is that for people with anxiety and depression, self-care is the stuff that feels indulgent and maybe a little guilt producing. Stuff like reading, getting a massage, taking a long walk. If there’s a load of laundry, client email or leaf-filled yard the guilt can be agonizing. SO many of us only do those things when absolutely everything else has been taken care of. And how often does that happen? How often do the dishes get done at the same time all the laundry is done and the lunches are packed for tomorrow? NEVER. So how often are you actually taking care of yourse”lf? Of loving yourself?
Fake it till you make it. Terrible advice.
When we’re constantly running like that we’re mostly likely in our heads. All the time. Then we forget how to listen to our hearts. Danieele LaPorte says, “If you stay out of your head and ask from the heart, CLARITY can happen like THAT. Snap.”
That’s how you know what you like/want/need. You listen to your heart. You get into your body and you notice your feelings. If you’re faking it, you’re not doing that. Stop faking it.
In a few days I start teaching Breathe Online, a six week self-study for managing depression and anxiety. One of the things we’ll focus on is getting into our bodies. We’ll get present with what’s happening in the moment. We’ll learn to get real and honest with ourselves about what the heart is saying, what the back is saying, what the tummy is saying.
Do you know when your body wants a massage? Do you know when a long walk would be the perfect thing to make the day better? So many of us can’t manage our anxiety/depression/stress because we don’t know how we feel in the moment.
So, my advice is to stop faking it. Get real with how you feel, what you want and what you need. Stop ignoring those little tugs we get to sit down, pee, take a nap, be alone, connect with someone.
And, of course, I advise you to join me for #BreatheOnline. You can check it out at http://bit.ly/1TKsxq8. Email me, comment or call with any questions or concerns.