Friday, July 3, 2009

Act the Way You Want to Feel

Among therapy's more dubious dogmas is the notion that our actions express our feelings, our fantasies, and our other mental productions.

People who are under the influence of therapy are told to avoid dealing with their immediate problems... the better to introspect and to get in touch with their feelings.

This may encourage people to spend more time in therapy, but it induces them to avoid dealing with their problems and to neglect actions that might improve their lives.

Or, as Gretchen Rubin expressed it: "Research shows that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act.... If you don't like the way you're feeling, act as you'd like to feel-- and your feelings will change. It's uncanny."

If you would like to read the rest of Rubin's essay, which contains some practical advice about how to put this maxim into action, here is a link.

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