When I find myself experiencing the mood sensations of fatigue, overwhelm, despair, morose, sullenness, and discouragement, it is very hard for me to shift into a more energizing and pleasant state, let alone take action. The combination of feelings often feels like a heaviness that only time itself can remove. Today I have felt this cocktail of feelings that has carried with it an affective energy akin to a mood of resignation.
While practicing awareness of my mood, I thought about the idea of acting AS IF I was, in fact, feeling enthusiastic, content, focused, cheerful, and ambitious. This was a somewhat comforting thought, and yet it wasn’t enough to snap me out of my funk. Nonetheless, I was pleased that I had the combination of self-regulatory thought patterns to challenge my desire to be less action-oriented because I wasn’t “feeling it.” I was also humbled by the gap between the knowledge of choosing to “act as if” and the actual difficulty of acting AS IF I was in a different state than the one that I felt was weighing me down.
As I reflect on my feelings and thoughts, I am realizing that I forgot to have compassion for myself. The dominant inner voice, aside from the one that was behind the creation of the sullen mood to begin with, was critical of my inability to “act as if.”
The missed opportunity was to take the pressure off of myself and practice compassion, loving kindness, and patience toward myself. The critical voice fixated on “why” this might be happening as well as how I “should” be able to snap out of it. Whereas, the compassionate voice would have fluidly accepted my state as it was and ignored the critical urge to take control by way of being judgmental.
Self-compassion is essential when choosing to “act as if.” Without the authentic desire to do so as is, it is a leap of faith to “act as if,” and this leap of faith requires self-compassion and trust in oneself.