Just a few days ago, after a stressful day, while looking for answers to the problems which I didn’t know I had… I came upon a simple truth beneath the luminescent glow of orange streetlights on that autumn night…
What we or others think of ourselves does not and will never define us, the only thing that will ever define us is what we do in life. The sum of our actions will always matter more than the sum of our words, and that fact also extends to the words that we use inside of our own heads. The stories that we tell ourselves about us or the stories that other people tell about us will never matter compared to the actions that we make.
There have been many times in the past few years where I couldn’t stop feeling miserable or sad, and I looked unhappy a lot. I didn’t feel happy and I didn’t want to “fake” being happy because I wasn’t feeling that way. I’ve been mildly abrasive towards some people, because inside I didn’t like them very much (for one reason or another) and I didn’t want to “fake” it either. I’ve shown my disdain for being at certain social events because I didn’t want to “fake” pretending I was happy to be there. I was a big old sour puss!
All of this made me begin to wonder… Why do I define myself by that feeling inside? If on the outside I want to be more social, feel happier around others and be a kinder, gentler person at times… Why did I believe that I couldn’t be? Why couldn’t I just “fake” it until I made it?
Just the very act of smiling has been proven to make you feel happier. Not only that, but the act of frowning can make you feel more sad and scowling can make you feel more serious…
It’s all a feedback loop in the brain, and you can read more about the details here on Scientific America. It’s possible that one could, to an extent, overwrite old habitual negative ways of thinking by consciously applying a positive outer experience which reflects the way we would like to feel! If we could challenge the beliefs that we have of ourselves…
(ex. I’m a loser; I could never drive a school bus over the gap of a crumbling highway; I can only eat peanut butter stirred in with cat food etc.)
…and prove to ourselves that these things aren’t actually true, then we can learn that we are capable of so much more. We can let go of the negativity by forcing the positivity sometimes.
Act confident -> Feel more confident -> Be confident
Act happy -> Feel more happy -> Be happy
Act sad -> Feel more sad -> Be sad
For some reason I’d been putting a stigma on myself for trying to be anything other than how I feel inside when it came to dealing with people or situations, because I was letting my emotions run the show. I thought that this was keeping me authentic. Yet, another part of me is beginning to understand that sometimes inward change needs outward momentum, and changing outward behavior to disagree with inward feeling can sometimes be healthy if it is leading us towards a place that we want to go.
If we feel sad, and we talk sad, and we act sad, well… We’re not creating a good environment for ourselves to actually begin a spark for that happiness somewhere inside. There are many other things we can do to change our moods, but consider this a tool in your arsenal to enhance the habits which will lead you to the life that you want to live; to be the person that you want to be. Outward momentum can bring you there!
But, before I leave on that note; I think it’s also important that one never disregards those other feelings inside either. We feel our emotions for good reason, and sometimes those emotions (although they may feel negative) are usually trying to point out problem areas in our lives which are keeping us from moving forward. These problems sometimes need to be addressed before we can reach an ultimate happiness that we all strive for. It’s okay to feel sad, angry and to want to be alone sometimes too. We should hide from none of them, but wouldn’t we all like to spend more of our time in peace and happiness?
Thoughts? Comments? Leave them down below!