Why We Pretend & the 7 Reasons Why We Should Stop

Why do we pretend that everything’s okay when it isn’t?

You’ve either done it or you know people who do it. You can clearly sense that everything is not okay, but you/they put on a happy face. But why?

  • We don’t want people to worry, look down on us, treat us differently, or pity us.
  • Pretending everything’s okay helps us feel like everything’s okay.
  • We can’t pinpoint what’s bothering us. We can’t explain it to ourselves, let alone anyone else.
  • We don’t want to be a downer/upset other people.
  • It seems easier to fake it instead of being vulnerable.
  • We feel that our voice doesn’t matter or we don’t deserve the care of others. “Why would anyone care about what I have to say?”
  • We don’t want to make waves and stand out – we just want to put our heads down and blend in.

Here are the 7 reasons why we shouldn’t put on a happy face when something’s wrong:

  1. When we act this way with kids (and others), they can clearly sense that something is not right. When we lie and pretend that “it’s all good” they learn to not trust themselves.
  2. Not sharing what’s really going on (even if it’s dark or depressing) keeps relationships shallow and impersonal. It cuts off the flow of energy between individuals like a brick wall.
  3. Like a pressure release valve, just saying it out loud can transform it.
  4. Others may be able to offer support, a hug, or help. Think about those times that we’ve helped others. Didn’t it feel good? When we don’t allow others to do this for us, we’re taking away an opportunity for them to do something that actually feels really good!
  5. Even if we don’t exactly know what’s going on inside, just getting off our chests “Something’s going on with me right now. I just feel really off, but I can’t figure out why.” can be healing. The other person might ask some questions that help us figure it out. They might hug us. Their presence as we speak is healing in itself.
  6. When we speak the vulnerable truth, there is an opportunity for us to have deeper relationships where we can be seen, heard, and understood. Others are more likely to feel safe and comfortable sharing deep things with us because we’ve demonstrated it first and trust has been established.
  7. We ARE worth it, our voice counts, and every one of us matters! Real relationships aren’t built on sunshine and rainbows alone. Sharing the highs and the lows and everything in between creates rich, deep, real, relationships.

We are multifaceted human beings with emotions that are meant to be felt and released. Although we can get good at guiding ourselves, honing our inner-alignment, and choosing experiences in a way that allows us to feel content most of the time,  sometimes we experience a challenge or a loss that rocks us to our core.

If we push it down, suppressing our emotions, it will still be there beneath the surface and will most often show up later as generalized anxiety or illness.

So allow yourself to feel all the feels and remember that it is okay to reach out to others simply to talk or to ask for help. Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling and express it, then you can move through it and let it go, returning again to a state of balance.