Thursday, March 14, 2013
Fake it till you make it
recently, with xmas on it's way i've started to ponder a little on this subject. i rarely buy gifts for my family, i never saw the point, even with those who gave to me i'd just claim to be broke and it's not like i care about what my family thinks because i don't really want a relationship with any of them, at least, i don't really care whether they are part of my life in the future when i move out ect... (i'm a teenager). i thought a couple of your recent posts were of some relevance, like when you used to go shoplifting, i'm curious about your thought process behind stopping. do you get narcissistic satisfaction from doing things in a legit, socially acceptable manner? were you afraid of getting caught? and did you see something to be gained from changing (like the incentive to go out and earn more money)? personally i thought incentive, gain and even the fear of getting caught would work best but maybe it's a good form of self-control for sociopaths to indulge in a little narcissism, even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way, maybe that's why your past seems to emotionally contradict your current self? but it begs the question, where can you draw the line between self-help and self-delusion?
This -- "even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way" is so true. Biologically we know it is true, for whatever reason when we smile we actually get happier. I sometimes coach friends on how to become better speakers and get them to speak in front of me to the point where they seem relaxed. I then take note of the things that they do or say, how they position their body, etc., while they are relaxed. I tell them -- do these things when you speak in public and the very act of doing them will signal to your brain to relax. It is starting to become apparent that our brain is more plastic than scientists have traditionally believed. Every day, every thing that we do is wiring and re-wiring our brain and (I think) for people like us it is even a bigger deal because we don't have the same sorts of mental rigidities and concrete self-concepts that other people seem to have.
With that said, it is very difficult to fight the tide, so to speak. If your current incentives encourage being a jerk to your family (for whatever reason), you probably don't have the willpower to treat them nicely. If you really want to change a behavior and it is impossible to change your physical incentive structures (whatever would be the equivalent of taking antabuse in your situation), you might still be able to change your perspective. Our brains only process a small fraction of what we encounter. The way we see the world will always be distorted, but it is not a static sort of distortion. We can nudge ourself to see the world in a different sort of distorted way that benefits us. People do it all of the time to become more happy and optimistic with things like gratitude journals, or they become depressed and suicidal by doing the opposite. You can easily learn to love or hate something because, as you say "even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way".