I watched a video by Mel Robbins last week about her new book, The High 5 Habit and was inspired to sign up for The High 5 Challenge. So what exactly is the High 5 Habit, and how does it fit into a daydreamer’s lifestyle?
The High 5 Habit is simply this: every morning when you go into the bathroom, you look at yourself in the mirror and you give your reflection a high five. Why? Because high fiving someone is a symbol of connection, of encouragement, of celebration. Traditionally, we high five someone to say “well done” or “you’ve got this”. How often do we say those things to ourselves? How often do we stop to consciously celebrate our achievements? The high 5 habit is all about helping you to like and celebrate the person you are. It’s about encouraging and empowering yourself.
But immersive and maladaptive daydreamers see the world, and themselves, a little differently than normative daydreamers do, and that means there are a few things that could come up when we try to develop the high 5 habit. Plenty of people, regardless of their daydreaming style, don’t like themselves very much, but daydreamers are particularly prone to this. If you become an idealised version of yourself in your daydreams, you might constantly compare your imperfect real-life self with your perfect alter ego. And that almost guarantees that you’ll end up very focussed on your shortcomings and imperfections.
In addition, the simple act of really looking at your reflection may be uncomfortable. If your daydream self looks very different from your real-life self, looking at your reflection can feel strange; you may not completely identify with the person who’s looking back at you. If you find it awkward to look at yourself in the mirror, that discomfort will show in your facial expression. The person you see will be a stressed, slightly unhappy you, not the joyful version that your friends and family see. If you don’t like looking at your reflection, that’s all the more reason to try the high 5 habit. Trust me, it gets easier, and it doesn’t take long to notice the shift. What helped me was to think positive thoughts while looking at my reflection, and noticing – really noticing – how my facial expression changed. I realised that when I smile, I really don’t look that bad.
The power of the high 5 habit lies in the way it allows me to connect with, and talk directly to, my alter ego. It’s another way I can bring my idealised self into my real life and draw on her strength and wisdom to help me navigate my real-world problems. When I look in the mirror, I become my alter ego, but the person looking back at me remains my real-world self. (This immediately makes it much easier to face my reflection – it’s not me, it’s the other me.) So my alter ego is doing the talking and I’m doing the listening.
It’s very easy for my alter ego to cheer on my real-world self. She’s better than me in so many ways, but she also knows that she came from me, that everything she is and has, is within me on some level. Her courage, her resilience, her wisdom are all within me somewhere. She knows that I have the potential to become her. And she wants me to feel as much joy in my world as she feels in hers.
So when I look out of the mirror, I can bring all of my current worries and challenges to my alter ego, and she can reassure me that I have what it takes to work through it. She’ll tell me that I’ve got this. And when I try to argue, when I say I’m not brave enough, or not good enough, or not likeable enough, she’ll show me the best of me. Being both of my selves at the same time helps me to get things in perspective. And when I’m feeling empowered and supported and ready to take on the world, that’s when I high five myself in the mirror with enthusiasm and determination, and get on with my day.
A high five is about connection. When you high five yourself in the mirror, you are connecting yourself to your brilliant alter ego, and you’re forming a partnership. You’re in this together. And that means you can do anything.