This post has been in my drafts for months, but now that I’m trying harder than ever to trust in my talents and embrace the lessons learned in failure, it seemed like a good time to revisit.
The idea came to me from an episode of Katie Dalebout’s Let It Out podcast featuring Dr. Samantha Boardman, who in addition to being a practicing psychiatrist, has a master’s in Applied Positive Psychology.
I’ve only listened to a few episodes of Let It Out, but I was impressed by the chemistry and naturally flowing conversation between these two. And I soaked up so much of Dr. Boardman’s advice. <3
In addition to her psychiatry practice, Dr. Boardman runs the blog Positive Prescription.
I’m not an expert in positive psychology—or any kind of psychology—but I like its central focus of mindfulness and the quest to live a meaningful life—not just a life hovering at “baseline.”
One thing that stood out to me in particular to me was Dr. Boardman’s simple advice to, when overwhelmed or insecure, “be un-you.”
So often, I become utterly weighed down my anxiety. I allow myself to become trapped by the assumption that “this is just my personality” or “I’ll always be like this,” so I don’t make an effort to change or step out of my comfort zone. I’ll allow unprovoked anxious feelings and tension to fester, assuming “well, if I’m feeling anxious, there must be something to be anxious about” and thus begins the spiral. To make it worse, I allow myself to slip into a period of depression, which makes me even more anxious and self-critical because, as my depression loves for me to (falsely) believe, what the hell do I have to be depressed about?
With this mindset, my daily thinking becomes an unending loop of tension and hopelessness—and guilt.
Getting to Know the “Un-You”
As distracting and despairing as my self-imposed mind games can be, I can get out of this loop by digging up traits and characteristics that are typically “un-me.”
Instead of building walls around myself and convincing myself that my faults define me, I can remind myself that my personality and day-to-day experiences are dynamic. I can invoke feelings and adopt traits from the women and men whom I admire and respect.
In other words, I can “fake it till I make it” by pretending to be confident when I’m actually terrified.
I can hold my shoulders back and walk tall like the naturally poised until that timid and self-loathing slouch feels a little more foreign.
None of this is to say that I should be dishonest with myself, repress my thoughts and feelings, or avoid vulnerability—but, to steal a phrase from Dr. Boardman, it’s harnessing “my inner Barbara Walters.” #WWBWD (What would Barbara Walters do?)
As difficult as it can be to look on the bright side or stand up for myself when all of my reflexes tell me to cower, I realize that I am constantly changing. I am learning and growing from each experience I face—the easy ones and the challenging ones—and I can improve myself when I make the effort.
So, while we should take pride in our quirks and all the things that make us unique, maybe there are times when it’s preferable not to be ourselves.
Try it for a day…see how you can harness the “un-you” in order to become the true “you” that you desire to be (that was too many yous…).Maybe it’s time to get to know the “un-you!” @katiedalebout @sambmd #positivepsychology Click To Tweet
[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- Do you ever become trapped by your anxiety and/or personality traits?
- How do you encourage yourself when you get trapped or feel insecure?
- In what ways could you practice being “un-you?”