Here's Why You Shouldn't Always Act How You Feel
Something I learned from my dad back in my high school days (AKA the days where I was horribly rude and sassy every waking moment to my poor parents, but delightful to everyone else) was that I should stop acting the way that I feel and start acting the way I WANT to feel.
My annoyed, stubborn adolescent self decided to take those words of advice and toss them underneath my bed because clearly I knew more about life than my much older and wiser father, right? I tossed a lot of advice under the bed in those days. Good times.
Earlier this morning my dad rehashed this advice to me, and this time (since I'm totally mature and intelligent now) it actually stuck.
A little preface
If you're new here, you might not know that the past 4+ months since I graduated from college, I've been in and out of hopsitals, doctors, urgent care centers, labs, etc. I've been dealing with extreme intestinal pain, other intestinal issues (yum), malabsorption, anxiety, nausea, and a wide array of other debilitating symptoms. These past few months have been the hardest of my life--this mystery illness (which could possibly be Crohn's, Colitis, SIBO...currently working on figuring this mess out) decided to hit me right after the breakup with my long-term boyfriend which caused me to have to move back home to California and live with my parents.
That in and of itself was hard enough--the fact that I now have this extremely painful, sickening illness has made it all the more tough to cope with. Honestly, broken intestines trump broken heart any day. My intestines cannot absorb nutrients from food, so I am not getting the necessary vitamins that my body requires to function. My days are full of brain fog, anxiety, panic, fear...and of course, the physical pain and sickness that I am enduring, as well. It's pretty fun.
It's been so hard for me because I'm someone with a very positive outlook on life and a whole lot of motivation in everything I do. I've always been ridiculously--disgustingly, even--motivated to get things done and push myself every day to be the best. I see myself doing big things, and I've worked very hard in my 21 years of life. But the past four months, I've been like a different person.
Now that my body isn't allowing me to live up to the expectations of my mind, it's been hard.
Back to the point of this post
I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around lately.
To strangers--sure, I'm cheerful and respectful. When I'm at work, despite feeling like complete death and essentially like a zombie, I still manage to treat people with sincerity and try to keep as much of my spunk and personality as possible.
But at home, and to those close to me--I let my anxiety, negativity, and fear explode all over the place. It's like a puddle of sad. I'm not always nice. I randomly start crying. I can lash out. Most of the time, I hide away and just don't say anything because I don't have the mental energy to talk--which drives my parents crazy. I talk back and can be condescending. I'm basically the opposite of a ray of sunshine. I'm like Satan's vomit. (HAHA, I don't know where that simile came from.)
I need to start acting how I want to feel.
Sure, it's easy to treat people crappy or be less-than-enthused when you feel crappy. Duh. But is that going to make you feel any less crappy? NO SIR. It won't. I promise. It will honestly probably make you feel worse.
It's going to feel fake at first. It likely IS fake. But if you can really try to act in a way that you want to feel, I promise it will pay off.
I say to act the way you want to feel assuming that as humans, we all want to feel happy. Loved. Engaged. Supported. So that is exactly how we must act!
If you want to feel happy, you have to act happy. People often think that we act because of the way that we feel, but we often feel because of the way that we act. Think about that for a second.
Maybe, just maybe, acting the way that you want to feel will trick you into feeling that way. Or at least direct your mood in that way until it can become a reality.
I'm the last person to tell you that this little trick is going to cure your worries, anxiety, depression, or whatever you are currently dealing with. I know just as well as any other person with a mood disorder or mental illness that it is NOT as simple as "being positive" and "looking on the bright side" and doing yoga with some tea and petting cats while wearing fuzzy socks.
I understand fully that mental illnesses are a totally different ball game! Seriously, I get it. I wish I didn't, but I do. Nothing irritates me more than when someone tells me to snap out of it or that I need to stop being sad. (I'm going to stop before I start ranting off-topic. You're welcome.)
This doesn't have to be hard. It seemed so daunting to me at first, and even now as an adult I thought that I was smarter than my dad and that this advice was unreasonable. Then I thought about it for a long time, and I thought about how our mindset is so extremely powerful. Visualizing things is so important. And whether or not you have a mental illness or mood disorder that makes doing this much harder, I promise it's worth it to give it a try.