A Useful Way to Pretend

Embodying the change that you want to make in your life is a much more proactive way to meet your New Year’s goals, as we talked about in this month’s newsletter article. Here is an example Susan used to explain exactly how it can work.

In college, Megan developed a social anxiety. She had never been terribly outgoing and being away from home among strangers really brought out her shyness. She was friendly with her housemates, but was too shy to take part in any social gatherings, even with them.

She became severely depressed, her grades suffered, and she was thinking about quitting school. Her guidance counselor noticed her mental state and recommended books and tools that might help her. Megan, during her readings, came across Susan’s lesson to “act-as-if,” and it changed her life. She made the decision that no matter how much anxiety and fear she was feeling, she would “act-as-if” she was confident. She would act as if interacting with people socially was something she did all the time. She would even copy her housemate, who was a bit of a flirt. She would pretend to be the kind of person she wanted to be.

And it worked! It wasn’t easy at first. It took all her resolve to go to the first meeting of a club she was interested in, and she lasted less than a half hour. But it was a start. From there she worked her way up to group dinners and even parties. After awhile it was almost like she had never had social anxiety. She still felt it, but she knew that she could put it aside and not let it keep her from living her life.

Try to “act-as-if” and see how it could help you.