Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fake It Till You Make It

For most of my life, I've maintained an easy- going, cheerful disposition. Despite challenges faced or being stressed- I've been able to maintain a cheery outlook on life and as I've said before- pull my big girl pants on, plaster a smile on my face and forge ahead. I attribute this ability to my mom. Growing up, no matter how stressed or overwhelmed she was, she barely let that show. She taught me what it was to keep moving forward, no matter how you're feeling inside. She showed me what it was like to do what ya gotta do because life moves on with or without you. She also taught me the value of working hard and doing what we sometimes don't want to do. She taught me that you smile, hold your head high, be nice to others and work hard. Pretty great lessons, if I do say so myself.

As I've gotten older, I've  realized not only how much I've learned from my mom but how these lessons have played out in my own life. I wrote a post about how not everything is always as it seems and how a person's life on the outside doesn't always match up with what's going on in the inside. Because I've learned that you pull yourself together and forge on- I have to start question if there is such a thing as BEING TOO GOOD AT IT?

At what point am I just stuffing how I really feel, what I really think? I am the master of putting on a good face, pretending like everything is sunshine and rainbows, even when it's not. I can take something that's been bothering me and box it up and shove it far back with all the other boxes so well. Too well, sometimes. 

I smile and I say, "I'm fine!" when I'm not. The last few weeks a few people close to me have asked if I am alright, that I haven't been quite myself. Of course, in typical me fashion, I smile and say "Yes, of course! Maybe I'm just tired!" For the past few weeks I HAVE felt tired, irritable and generally feeling blah. I can't put my finger on why and maybe it was for a mixed up jumble of a whole bunch of things piling up into one big mass.

I kept those feelings locked up tight in that little box of mine until it started seeping out, like a suitcase filled to the brim and you have to sit on it to be able to latch it shut. The contents of my suitcase were beginning to spill out the sides and I wasn't able to latch it shut this time. I started getting irritated by small things. Losing my temper, nagging at Will and the girls. It took me having to be asked by people around me if I was ok for me to stop and think and ask myself- "Yes, Shay, ARE YOU OK?"

So, at what point does faking it until we make it become unhealthy? We all know what it's like to dust yourself off and forge forward even when we still feel like a mess on the inside. To put on a happy face for not only your kids, your family but for your own insanity. Because the alternative could be much worse.

But stuffing your feelings, not talking about what is bothering you is when you're balancing precariously into not appropriately dealing with your thoughts/feelings and most of all- not being authentic or honest with yourself and others.

So while I won't be bombarding the next innocent, well meaning person when they ask me how I am doing- I am going to be making a more conscious effort to be in touch with how I'm feeling and honest with those feelings with both myself and others.

Do you talk freely about your feelings or are you a feelings stuffer? Please share! Or maybe you won't if you're a stuffer. :)