Faking it

See how often you fake your responses to others so that you can feel better.

How about when you say yes

to silence your inner critic

to quiet someone’s anger or strident insistence

to keep up the image you have of yourself as a hero or rescuer

to keep up the image you think others have of you

to avoid the anxiety you feel when you’re not busy

to give yourself the momentary gratification of being a helpful person?

Each one of these is a yes that serves to spare you from experiences you don’t like, rather than a sincere, heartfelt generous response to another or to a possibility that’s presenting itself. And each one ties you in to a commitment, a promise, that you didn’t fully mean to make.

Imagine the waste when life, or your work, or the work of a whole organisation is built on commitments like this: commitments that weren’t sincere.

And if you give yourself up repeatedly in this way, what kind of life are you living? What kind of work are you doing? Most probably the life and work of someone who’s holding back a large part of their most genuine, courageous and most needed contribution to the world, so that that they can instead do the work of saving themselves from feelings they’d prefer not to have.