How I would handle it: faking your feelings for sake of others

I truly enjoy being part of community. So, for me, the most lacking aspect of blogging is it’s solitary nature. Finding good blogging group is hard. Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon Community Pool – and connected with various individuals over last few weeks. Reading other people’s blogs is inspiring – it gets me thinking about stuff they are going through.

Last week I had extended conversation with Yoly as she commented on my Reduce dependencies and tune out distractions post. You can see our whole exchange on Community Pool. I would say this paragraph best represents our discussion:

I have to swallow my “wants” so everyone can be happy. But there are times that I can’t anymore so I’m the angry with everyone. I have good days and bad days. I’m the problem here, I can’t be honest with my myself because I need to sacrifice my needs to make others happy.

That got me thinking – how would I handle that? Feeling that I am in position I don’t want to be, yet I need to pretend that I am happy so I don’t disturb others. Sure enough, I’ve been there often. We all have. Parents and married people are especially vulnerable to this. Situations where they need to project “everything is great” image are everyday occurrence.

Here's to Friday... oh, that's right, we're parents. Friday means nothing anymore.

Here’s to Friday… oh, that’s right, we’re parents. Friday means nothing anymore.

Being able to satisfy others is a sign of strength

For me, the most important part is perception of “fake your feelings” strategy. Lots of people believe that one needs to be authentic 100% of the time. Yet, as one of my favorite quotes says “Every general statement is false”. Nothing is black and white.

So, as soon as you understand that it’s OK to fake here and there – everything becomes easier. Like: accept it’s OK to pretend that you are fine in front of your child. I mean, do you really want to saddle little kids with your issues? If children are able to help – sure, give them a chance… tell them what they can do so you can feel better. But in 99% situations you children can’t help you. Thus, swallowing your wants and pretending is way better alternative.

Now, faking is only half of the problem. No matter how strong of a person you are – you can’t fake your feelings long term. So, you absolutely need to define plan that allows you to get into setting where you can meet all your desires. But, you need to be realistic. We all would love to have billions of dollars, admiration of others, bunch of houses and yachts. True happiness in life comes with ability to define a “sweet spot”. A situation which you are able to maintain long term, yet that makes you happy.

Most of the people that are stuck in life have disconnect between ability and reality they desire. And there are only two ways to bridge this gap:

  1. Either you increase your ability
  2. Or downsize your desires

When talking about this subject almost everyone lauds option number 1. Yet, in practice, 90% of people choose second option. Depression is a poster child for option #2: one completely accepts that he will never improve. And willingly gives into expecting nothing.


So, in a nutshell this all comes down to two things: accepting imperfection and having discipline for continual improvement. Be OK with things not going your way most of the time. Isolate yourself and take a break when you need it. But take control of your life and accept responsibility. Work every day to keep going toward situation that you desire.

Theory is pretty easy. Application of what I am laying out here is the hard part… especially in Yoly’s situation. I am now regular visitor of her blog – as she is quite prolific and intriguing author. Here are some her posts in which she casts more light on her situation:

Considering post is already pretty long, I’ll stop here. See if there is any feedback on what I wrote.

If there is self-improvement subject you would like to discuss in detail – feel free reach out. Leave a comment or use Contact page; either will work!


16 thoughts on “How I would handle it: faking your feelings for sake of others

    • Well, maybe “author” is not the right word. But as someone who reads a lot I can tell that structure of your writing is pretty good. And you manage to do it quite often (sometimes 5+ times a week); to me venting is kinda below that. In any case, thanks for reading and commenting – I’m looking forward to our future conversations.

  1. If I am in a bad or non-talkative mood, I stay home or go somewhere I can be alone.

    I honestly do not care about making other people happy.

    Do what makes you happy. Follow your heart. Live your life.

  2. This is a common problem on both sides of the equation, the fine line of being selfish enough to take care of yourself, while also selfless enough to give people what they need from you. Accepting ourselves is a great way to help this concept become reality, only we need to accept the people around us in order to be able to know what exactly we are going to sacrifice for them.

    This is something I have struggled with in the past, thanks for the eye opening post.

  3. Very nice. I always say “If something doesn’t work out for 1, make it work for 2”. Sadly, most people think about themselves and are too selfish to think of others. I remind myself frequently that not everyone has the same heart as me.

    • I would say that in today’s world it’s not that people are selfish – it’s just that too many people are too weak. And then they defend themselves any way they can. Plus they hoard whatever you give them –
      they don’t know when the next giving moment will come.

      I often think about similar moments in my life – the weaker I was and the more trivial conflict was, the more I fought. Now, sure, I find laughable what was once anxiety of my life. But it’s hard to snap out of it in moment when you don’t have enough strength to surmount problems thrown at you.

  4. This topic has multiple layers:
    1. putting your feelings/ wants/ needs on the back-burner because someone has it worse
    2. not burdening someone who cannot help (i.e your mother – child example)
    3. having to put on a brave face if you’re working in any customer relation capacity (for the good of the business)
    4. pretending to be someone you’re not so that you are better liked/ accepted.

    Let me start from the end:
    4. That is just unhealthy and unfair. For you and the other person/ people involved. Be you. Express yourself.
    3. Psychologically, that is very unhealthy for you, but the employer/ client does not care, so you better put on a smile and act like you’re the happiest/ worry free person in the world.
    2. Of course, you are not going to talk to your 8 year-old child about your impending divorce, your financial situation and your suicidal thoughts. That’d just be silly. Would not help you, and would potentially cause terrible trauma for the kid.

    1.This ties a bit to no.2 as well. From personal experience – I was taking care of someone terminally ill. My life did not stop. I still had emotional ups and downs related to other aspects of my life, but I felt guilty for thinking of myself, when clearly someone has it worse. I did not want to share my emotions with that person, because they could not help me, and I felt that it would almost be an insult to them to talk about my petty issues. HOWEVER, sometimes, I was reminded, that I SHOULDN’T be completely shoving myself aside, because that would wear me out and make me less capable of taking care of that person. Also, sometimes, people that have it worse than us want a reprieve and they DO want to hear about your problems, so they can forget about theirs for a second. They also still want to feel needed; no matter the status of their capabilities.

    So while you’re there trying to be selfless, think if that is necessary, or if you just think it’s for the best…

    • Ever since you’ve left this comment I’ve been meaning to reply… just something always pops up. So, here I am, in the middle of night – finally typing response.

      I think you covered all the bases pretty well. The only thing I wanted to add on ties onto the last sentence in your comment. Basically whether selflessness is for real or not – depends on amount of power one has. If my selflessness is truly changing someones life – then it’s for the best.

      Most of us, most of the time feign selflessness. I.e. – we are not giving up anything that truly matters. Like Bill Gates says – billions he has given away don’t truly matter. He still gets to ride private jet and buy whatever the hell he wants. Funny enough, his net worth doubled since he started with philanthropy. Not to mention tens of billions Buffet gave him on top of that for the fund.

      So – as long as you are giving something truly meaningful AND that is changing recipient’s life – it is being selfless. And it matters… that’s what I was trying to talk in my post.

      By the way – big fan of your blog. Wrote about it in my latest blog roundup:

  5. This is so true!! Recently someone told me that actually being able to keep a mask on and being able to be okay says how strong you are, not fake. It changes my whole perception of whats “fake.”

    • To me it was reading The Way of Kings and stumbling upon “Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.”

      When you think about it – it really makes sense. You can’t serve if you have nothing to offer. Ruling on the other hand…

      • True, back then the power kings had were given by the people even though kings soon forgot that without the purpose of serving the people, they wouldn’t exist either.

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