“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not eliminating our weaknesses.” ~Marilyn vos Savant
I often hear the words “be yourself.” I love those words, and I truly believe that everyone should strive to be the truest version of who they are. There's nothing more attractive than a person who is just so utterly themselves, even when society tries to push them the other way.
Strong willed people are some of my favorite types. They can be righteous. They can be overly moral. However, they know what they want, they know who they are, and they know that nobody else determines their definitions of themselves.
They stand up for what they believe in. And most importantly, they stand up for others when it matters.
As somebody who is quite strong willed myself, I appreciate the beauty in the statement “be yourself.” However, I have also come to appreciate the softer side of letting go.
This includes being wrong sometimes and even admitting it. This also includes opening my mind to the possibility of all possibilities; seeing the positive in the negative, understanding the behavior of those who may seem morally corrupt (to me), taking benefit from the other side of a passionate debate, and learning information when I want to reject it.
As somebody who preaches the importance of being yourself, I admit I have a trick up my sleeve that has something to do with pretending to be who you're not. Yup! I feel deliciously devious even just saying that.
This trick is well known in the world of Positive Psychology, a term coined by Martin Seligman, Ph.D. in psychology.
So what is this trick? Well, when you find yourself feeling down and depressed, it can help tremendously to ask yourself:
“What would the happy version of me do at this moment?”
Not only does this get you into a goal-oriented state, but it also takes a load off the negativity that you might be feeling. It takes your mind state from “oh woe is me” to imagining what will actually make you happier. It's proactive.
When you can imagine yourself being something greater than what you feel at the moment, you actually flip on a little switch in your brain that will attempt to propel you toward that image.
This can work not only when feeling down, but with any goal you may have in mind.
“What would the healthy version of me do?”
“What would the brave version of me do?”
“What would the successful version of me do?”
You're not shaming yourself in any way; you're only gently shifting your mind set into one that is proactive and ready to take charge of your life.
When I was struggling with feeling low, oftentimes I’d lie in my bed in the morning and not want to get out of it. It felt like there was no point.
I was given a beautiful child at the age of twenty-three, and even though she has been the light of my life, at the time my identity felt as though it had been ripped from my very soul.
The relationship I was in at the time was manipulative and emotionally abusive, probably on both sides. I didn’t feel like myself and I felt very restricted. My carefree spirit turned into a negative, depressed, shriveled up little hole inside my heart.
Now, this might sound odd to some, but I have always been impressed with warrior-type women. I believe that I possess some warrior qualities within myself (we all do), and when I think of them, I feel strong, like I could take on anything!
One day it just clicked. As I was lying in bed, not wanting to get out of it, I thought to myself, “What would the warrior in me do?”
Out of bed I jumped! I continued to use that saying in many different ways and for many months. Now it has become a part of me.
I am that warrior woman.
I am strong enough. I am not a victim of life’s circumstances. I create my life and everything in it. I don’t react to life. I make life what I want it to be.
To me, a warrior is not a victim. A warrior makes her life what it is; she creates it herself.
When I shift my mind into this realm, I realize that other people do not control me; I control myself. Nobody is in charge of how I get to feel.
In my relationship, I had been putting that control into somebody else’s hands, and when I decided to take back control over my life is when I finally realized the relationship was not going to work either way. Unfortunately, we had to part ways, but lessons were learned and I was finally able sit back and breathe.
Try this tool out for yourself, and see how it changes your perspective the next time you're feeling stuck.
Who knew that pretending to be who you’re not (in a positive way) could strengthen the qualities that you never knew were inside of you?
Photo by Ohfooy