“I have recommended the technique of “acting as if”; that is, of acting as if a psychological attitude existed in us, instead of the contrary one. Some are shocked at the use of this method because they consider it hypocritical; they say in effect: i “If I am angry and harbor resentment against someone, for whatever reason, good or bad, and if I treat him with kindness and smiles, I am not being authentic—true to myself.” But in reality it is not a question of hypocrisy.
This is due to the psychological multiplicity that exists in each of us. “Acting as if” would be hypocritical if we did so with the purpose of deceiving others for selfish ends, or if we deceived ourselves into believing that our lower motives do not exist. But if, when an impulse or motive of hostility and resentment against someone arises in us, we, our true, our genuine self, do not approve of it and refuse to identify with it, then our real will is to choose the better motive and to act benevolently in spite of the impulse that Urges us to treat the person badly. We can choose the motive to which we give free course.” …
“Authenticity does not consist in giving in to a bad motive simply because it exists. Considered in this light, to behave in a benevolent manner even though one feels an impulse of anger can be the highest form of sincerity, for it corresponds to what we would wish to be completely, and already are partially. Such a recognition eliminates the misunderstanding about authenticity. Many, in fact, behave badly and excuse themselves on the score of being authentic. But this is often the
authenticity of the cave man. The method of “acting as if” we possessed the
desired feelings is neither sham nor hypocrisy. It is an effective way of becoming more and more what we wish we could be continuously. We are, essentially and genuinely, what we will to
be, even if we often fail to manifest it.”
Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will, p. 141-143« Back to Glossary Index