Anytime Resolution - As the name suggests, it is a resolution that can be taken up anytime when you feel the need and are ready for a change. I
hope to provide you with some useful suggestions that will bring you closer to living a more flourishing life in various aspects.
Today's Anytime Resolution is to fake it.
Ok, I have to admit that I am not one who enjoys pretending and in many circumstance I prefer to be authentic and true. So, why am I suggesting this resolution this week?
Because it can help you to get a kickstart and it is a powerful coping strategy.
I draw the inspiration for this resolution from one of the rules in Marriage Rules. Rules #8 states: Fake it for ten days. This rule comes in most handy when couples get so locked in negativity that impasse is inevitable.
In such a situation, consider doing an experiment in creative pretending for ten days. For example, pretend that your spouse is already the partner that you would like him or her to be. Pretend that you are so in love with your partner. How will your behaviours be different?
The goal of this experiment in pretending is to help you discover new, more positive truth about yourself, your partner and the relationship that you share.
Like you, I was resistant to this idea in the beginning because I consider myself to be an honest person. However, as I reflect deeper I realised that there have been many times when I "fake it" and usually they come under the guise of "professionalism".
I am having a really lousy day but the moment a patient walks into the clinic, I put on my professional Psychologist face.
My hands are sweaty and my heart is pounding so hard that I thought the person sitting next to me could hear it but the moment I walk on to the stage, I give my most confident smile as I begin my presentation. I act as I would feel.
Have you been in similar situations before? Then you have faked it.
For a while now, I have great admiration for people who are in entertainment industry, in particular clowns. Regardless of how they feel inside, the show must go on. They continue to make other people laugh at their own expense.
Another example comes from my experience in working with recovering addicts and alcoholics. "Fake it till you make it" is strategy that is used especially in the early stages of sobriety.
I have saved the best for last. Here is a story that I feel illustrates this resolution very well. Observe how "faking it" helps to rekindle feelings that have been missing.
Granted, it is a long read but there are important lessons that we can draw from it. Please give it a shot.
MARRIAGE (Taken from The Husband Chronicles)
When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the
hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.
She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, "why?"
I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn't love her anymore. I just pitied her! With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.
She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.
The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn't have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month's time and she didn't want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.
She requested that every day for the month's duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door every morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request. I told Jane about my wife's divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.
My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outsidethe door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and
sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me...she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.
Our son came in at the moment and said, "Dad, it's time to carry mom out." To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute.
I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day. But her much lighter weight made me sad.
On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life
I drove to office....jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, "Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore."
She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. She said "do you have a fever?"
I moved her hand off my head. "Sorry, Jane", I said, "I don't want a divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the
details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us
Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.
At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart. That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we pushed thru with the divorce.-- At least, in the eyes of our son--- I'm a loving husband.
The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.
So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage.
- Treat your spouse as you would your best friend.
- Create your own personal commandments
- Identify and nurture your tribe
- Cultivate and practice self-compassion
- Choose outdoor and nature
- Contact your friend
- Try one thing new and novel
- Savour more
- Aim for 5:1