Sometimes, to get past something in your life, you have to fake it ‘til you make it. Most undesirable behaviors are rooted in emotional trauma, often having roots in early childhood. For example, sexual abuse may lead the child to create a “false belief” such as, “If I am fat and ugly, no one will do this to me again.” As a result, the child begins to overeat or avoid hygienic practices in order to be unattractive. This may be done consciously or unconsciously. Before long, a food addiction is formed, while the reason why it started may be forgotten.
Discovering these “false beliefs” can be difficult. However, when you feel off balance with someone who “pushes your buttons,” this can be a clue to the root experience. The same is true for addictions or behaviors that you cannot stop. Spend some time in meditation, with the intention to find the initial root cause.
Look at the issue from your current adult perspective. You may need to reassure your “inner child” that things are different now. Then, work together to build some strategies to replace the false beliefs with new ones that match your new way of living.
One strategy to revamp beliefs that keep you locked into fear-based behaviors is to “fake it ‘til you make it.” This simple method can be difficult at first, but quickly gets easier with practice.
First, choose a behavior you would like to change. Tell yourself you will no longer behave this way and then do your best to follow through. There is no need to make a public proclamation to others, for many times those you confide in will ridicule and test you.
You may have to change other behaviors in order to support your targeted one.
For example, you may choose to stop overeating. The only way to do this is to… stop overeating. However, you will need to change other behaviors such as reducing meal size, bring home half your meal when you dine out, not munch while watching TV and drink a glass of water instead of having a bedtime snack.
Whatever you want to change, role-play as though it were already a reality. Use your five senses to solidify what you wish to change. When you do so, your subconscious brain does not know that this is not truly happening. It will respond as though this is reality, allowing you to retrain your brain. As a result, it will be easier to break the habit.
For example, if you are wanting to stop overeating, visualize yourself doing what it is you want to change. Visualize a common scenario that is a problematic area. Let’s say that you commonly snack on a bag of chips, cookies and a soda while watching TV. Visualize yourself eating a light, healthy snack. See it in your mind’s eye. Taste how yummy it is, hear the crunch, perhaps you can even smell the pleasing aroma. Feel the texture in your hand and in your mouth as you mindfully chew. Praise yourself for making a better choice. Feel happy, knowing you won’t feel bloated afterwards. See yourself having more energy. Express gratitude for your body as you pledge to pay closer attention to what it needs in order to feel strong and healthy.
Avoid whining or making statements such as, “I’m on a diet so I can’t have any cake.” That will only lock you into victim mode. The good news is, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Just do so in smaller amounts and early in the day so you have a chance to burn off the calories. Also, avoid statements that make you seem noble that will lock you into ego trips. “I’m on a diet and losing weight, you should do it, too.” Don’t “should” on people. Build allies, not enemies.
Also, it is important not to beat yourself up when you fall back into your old pattern.
Review why you “fell off the wagon,” then get back up and make a better choice. Don’t entertain thoughts that bring you down, feeling like you “have to” give something up. Instead, think positive thoughts about how much more enriched your life is becoming as you leave behind what no longer serves you.
No one has ever died while practicing this exercise, however, many have learned to live! Practice daily whatever it is you wish to experience. Do not let others or your fears stop you from living the life of your dreams. There is a lot more you can do and experience than you currently give yourself credit for.
Dare to dream big. Meanwhile, fake it ‘til you make it!
© 2019 Theresa Crabtree. All Rights Reserved.
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