OW SERIES: Day 37 – Why surface acting won’t make it all better
Many people will be experiencing painful emotions in the times to come. For some this will manifest as fear and guilt; for others, shame at not being able to meet performance expectations.
Asking these people to “make an effort” or “smile a little” has a name in psychology: surface acting. Very damaging, this request to act “as if” everything was going well creates emotional dissonance and weakens commitment, well-being and motivation.
To imagine that holding back tears is all it takes to be less unhappy is to forget that sincerity is an important source of serenity.