Pages

Friday, June 24, 2011

Melanie Milburne: Acting Your Way Into Feeling

Have you ever had to pretend to be nice to someone you couldn’t stand?  Or pretend to be interested when you’re bored? Or smile when you really wanted to cry?
I don’t think there are many of us who haven’t had to do one or all of the above at some point.  But one thing I’ve learned about such situations is the concept of acting your way into feeling.
I think I first heard the term about twenty-five years ago in a relationships handbook.  I read so many back then I have no idea which book it was from or who wrote it. But the deal is this: You might really hate your husband/partner for not putting out the trash or... (I’ll let you fill in the details!), but if you act loving towards him, guess what? Your feelings magically turn back into love.  
Or what about this scenario: You might just hate being seated next to Great Aunt Gladys at a family wedding because she talks non-stop about herself, but if you act interested, guess what?  You suddenly realize she is a rather lonely old person who has a lot of memories she wants to share before she dies.
We all have to pretend at times and this concept is at the heart of the second book in my Sabbatini Brothers Trilogy- One Last Night.

Maya is in the process of divorcing her rich and powerful husband Giorgio Sabbatini. She feels a terrible failure because she hasn’t been able to provide him with an heir. A one night encounter with Giorgio brings about an unexpected surprise but because she has never been successful in bringing a pregnancy to term she decides not to tell him.
This would be all well and good if it hadn’t been for the fact that Giorgio needs her to pretend to be reconciled with him for a few weeks as his beloved grandfather is terminally ill.
Not that Maya really had to pretend too hard or anything. She hadn’t fallen out of love with Giorgio in the first place. Giorgio on the other hand was definitely going to learn all about my relationships concept of acting your way into feeling!
What situation have you been in where you had to act the opposite of what you were feeling? I’ll send an autographed copy of One Last Night to a comment poster at random.
Warmest wishes,
Melanie Milburne

***Melanie picked Laurie G. as the winner!  Laurie, please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your full name and mailing address and we'll get a copy of One Last Night in the mail to you!***

20 comments:

marybelle said...

I'm thinking this happens in work situations to me. What the boss says goes, even though I don't think it's the right way. In my personal life I make my own way.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Melanie Milburne said...

Hi Marybelle,
Yes work is definitely somewhere where you have to act a bit! Some workplaces require more grinning and bearing than others.

Caroline said...

I'm with Marybelle - I always act differently - stiff upper lip - and all that with the bosses at work! Also I'm on my best behaviour with the vicar at our local church - but that's the norm I'm sure ;o) Caroline x

Melanie Milburne said...

I hear you, Caroline! There are some contexts in which it is best to play a low profile. I would imagine a parish priest would be one of them. But how authentic are we being if we don't show our true feelings? It is a balancing act of being polite and honest without cruelty, don't you think?

Melanie Milburne said...

I hear you, Caroline! There are some contexts in which it is best to play a low profile. I would imagine a parish priest would be one of them. But how authentic are we being if we don't show our true feelings? It is a balancing act of being polite and honest without cruelty, don't you think?

Melanie Milburne said...

Oops! That came up twice! Blame it on the time zone. I've been at a 12 hour seminar today with Robert McKee on thrillers. Tomorrow is comedy and Sunday his world premier of love story. Can't wait for that one!

Laurie G said...

I was happy on the outside when my oldest son (25) married a beautiful woman in April.
However, on the inside I was regretting that my son has grown up so quickly and won't need me so much any more.

CrystalGB said...

At work and at social functions I have had to put on a smile when I didn't really feel it. It is hard to do it sometimes.

Alison said...

Very interesting idea! and I can see it would work if you really tried to feel that way. Like you can't chahge other people's behaviour, only your own, but that can make a difference.

pageturner345@gmail.com

Melanie Milburne said...

Laura I am glad

Melanie Milburne said...

Sorry Laura, I didn't get to finish what I was saying. I am glad you like your daughter in law, imagine if you didn't. There would be a lot of acting going on in the interest of family peace!

Melanie Milburne said...

Crystal, work functions can be a tough call. Isn't it a nightmare when you get cornered by someone who wants to tell you their life history. It's so hard to get away!

Melanie Milburne said...

Alison, you are so right that the only person you can change is yourself. But the interesting thing is once you change your behavior it has a knock on effect on others.

Pat Cochran said...

We recently had a new member in a group
to which I belong to whom I had a severe aversion. Could not stand the person!!! I try to be friends with everyone but this was totally inex- plainable! The person has since moved on, it was then that I found I was not alone. Several other group members felt the same way. I guess some are just not a likeable type of person.

Pat Cochran

chey said...

I can think of this happening at work.

Melanie Milburne said...

Pat, I've come to the conclusion over many years that there are just some people who are difficult. They are born that way and will probably never gain the insight to change or modify their behavior. Sad but true. Also, some personalties don't mesh well. I have found that in families. Siblings with the same genetics can be at loggerheads due to personalty clashes.

Laney4 said...

Our local badminton club had a treasurer that irritated me (and others) beyond belief. She felt she was in charge of the club and acted accordingly. Thankfully, I wasn't on the executive when she came on board (but I'd been secretary for a decade before that). Anyway, the executive (meaning mostly Ms. X), decided to increase our annual membership from $100 to $150 (50%) and for our children it was raised from $75 to $150 (100%) - all because our gym fees went up from $20/hr to $22/hr (10%). I disagreed and voiced my opinion that $110 would be accurate, but the most charged in a one-year rate increase would be $125, IF other fees went up as well (the cost of shuttles, but that would be minimal). Bear in mind that we had a $2,000 balance in the bank account to start the year, and non-profit organizations shouldn't have big balances. Ms. X was annoyed with me big time. Even though I'd been a member for 20 years (and she had been for about 6 or 7 years), I refused to join that year, and if someone asked me why (and lots did), I explained why. I played in neighbouring towns where I had also been playing, so was effectively cut from 5 nights/week to 2 nights/week, which was just fine with me. I stayed away from our local club the second year too, although they kept it at $150. The next year, though, someone who had been a member longer than I became president. He not only kept it at $150, but also offered the family rates again, so my daughter and I could join for $250 total. This made sense to me and we re-joined two years ago. In the meantime, though, Ms. X continually ordered me about at the club in front of people ("YOU take the minutes since our secretary isn't here" and not "WILL you take the minutes because Mr. Y isn't here?") AND she phoned me at home before 9 am twice to yell at me because I explained why I wasn't a member the previous years when I was asked. Jeez.

When asked about Ms. X, I tell people "she means well" and "she works hard" (at ticking people off....), but her attitude is not the best. Because she works so hard, though, most people won't stand up to her because they don't want to do the job instead. I, on the other hand, have told her on these phone calls just what I think of her interference and non-needed opinions, while sugar coating with the "I know you mean well" lines.

I think I started telling people how I really feel when I turned 50. Life is over half finished. Don't put up with BS. Be honest (as much as you can be - like me saying "she means well", although I didn't speak up in front of 50 people when I DID write up the minutes of that meeting).

Melanie Milburne said...

Laney, I totally agree that something happens to a woman's brain when she hits mid life. We suddenly realize we've given half of our lives away, often to people who don't appreciate it. Well done, you for standing up for yourself!

Laurie G said...

THANK YOU MELANIE!

I'm looking forward to reading ONE LAST NIGHT!

us-yslwomen said...

Shop the latest Jordan Shoes handpicked by a global community of independent trendsetters and stylists.