“FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT”–NOT THE BEST LIFE STRATEGY

Reaching by Darrell Raw

I’ve read, seen and heard this term “fake it till you make it” quite a bit the past few years. It’s supposed to mean that if you’re struggling with something, finding something hard, or just plain having a hard time and not doing well, you can pretend you’re doing better than you are and eventually you’ll really be doing better than you are. I think there is a tiny bit of truth to this if it’s meant in the same sense that C.S. Lewis wrote about when he said:

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”

Perhaps he’s right that “pretending” your way into a virtue will eventually cause this virtue to become your true character over time, the way that a child putting on an adult’s shoes eventually “fits” into them. You can eventually “fit” into a virtue by practicing it. I prefer the term practicing over pretending as it sounds more like forward movement than putting on masks in order to hide ourselves.

Also, Tony Robbins often talks about how our physiology affects our psychology. In other words, if you’re feeling depressed and are sitting or standing slumped over, the first thing to do is pull your shoulders back and breathe. In other words your body informs your mind how to feel. There is also a lot of truth to this.

But overall, as a lifelong strategy, “Fake it till you make it” isn’t going to fly. At least not if what you are actually wanting is to be real and to be loved for who you are and not who you pretend to be.

It seems that what we all want is not only to be real, to be authentic, but to be real and authentic…and be loved. The part where it gets scary is when being authentic might cause rejection, disapproval or outright alienation. If you were raised with people who did a lot of hiding from themselves and their emotions, or if expressing your true feelings was met with abuse, rejection or invalidation, it’s easy to see why people find it easier to fake it.

Personally, it seems like more work to not be real than to be real. But I can see why people fall into this trap because maybe for the time being, it seems the better alternative. But as anyone wrestling through this can tell you, it’s not the better alternative. It ends up becoming a bigger and bigger hole to dig yourself out of.

My own frustration with being real is more related to the kind of responses I sometimes come up against which make me see why so many people find it easier to not bother with authenticity. Things like telling someone how I’m feeling when it’s not a happy-smiley day for me and then being either preached at, lectured or invalidated in some other way.

Henri Nouwen said it so marvelously:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

So what are some solutions to the dilemma of wanting to be real, but also wanting to avoid being hurt, and more importantly, to be heard and be loved for who we are? Perhaps there isn’t any big solution, but two things that come to mind are risk and discernment.

Risk is part of being human and is part of any human interaction. We need to risk being hurt in order to have authentic relationship, friendship and community.  The important thing though is to make sure to bring discernment along with us when taking risks in sharing with others. Discernment about when to tell, who to tell and how much to tell.

Discernment is much like gut instinct, but even finer tuned. It helps you locate the line between your own fear and the need to take a risk and step out, whether that’s stepping out in connecting with people or stepping out in a new direction in life. It’s a divine gift and like all gifts, it can be cultivated and strengthened so that it becomes easier to tune into. The more you do, the better choices you will make in who you share your concerns, burdens and heaviness with. As you probably know, sharing with the wrong people can be worse than not sharing at all.

So tune your ear and heart to God’s guidance and choose wisely. Then take the risk and share your heart honestly and openly. The right people will be okay with hearing your junk. And who knows, it may even free them up to share theirs. That doesn’t mean we need to wallow forever in a “junk sharing” pity party, but it does mean that there should be at least one or two people in your life with whom you feel like the Emily Dickinson quote below. God knows how thankful I am for those people in my life.

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As always, let me know if I can be of help. Wishing you all the grace and strength you need.

If you need further help living more authentically, you can schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me by clicking here and booking yourself an appointment. I would love to talk with you!

Monique

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Do You Have an Addictive Personality? There’s Hope for You.

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Hi everyone…

Elephant journal just posted an article I wrote. When I originally posted it here on my site, it was longer and I had turned it into 2 parts. I had to bring it under 800 words for the article. So if you have less time to read, this version might be quicker. I hope it helps you or someone you know. Please feel free to share the link.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/05/do-you-have-an-addictive-personality-theres-hope-for-you/

Blessings,

Monique

10 THINGS TO DO WHEN THINGS LOOK HOPELESS

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1) Pray. If you’re not the praying type, then sit quietly and meditate on something good, true or beautiful. A few minutes, or one minute. You might find it so beneficial that you stay with it for longer periods of time and eventually might want to do it every day.

2) Call a friend and pour your heart out. Go ahead. Don’t be shy. Don’t convince yourself nobody wants to hear about your problems. Just call and ask if your friend has some time to spare and tell them that you’re needing a shoulder to lean on. Then let it out—the hurt, anger, sadness, grief, despondency, fear. Sometimes just being allowed the freedom to express how you’re feeling, and to know you’re supported, can lift a huge boulder off your back and help you to believe that things can get better. We’re not meant to carry our burdens alone.

3) Remember another time when things seemed hopeless and they ended up working out okay, or better than you thought, even if they got pretty unpleasant (or even horrendous) in the middle.

4) Watch something—like a movie or video about someone who overcame impossible odds, survived and went on to lead an amazing life. You could even watch nature—the way an ant will carry a piece of dirt or food that seems too heavy for it and try again and again until it succeeds. Or a bumblebee. Did you know that aerodynamically, it’s actually “impossible” for them to fly?

5) Listen to a song that inspires you and makes you happy (sing along at the top of your lungs). If you don’t have access to music for some reason, sing or whistle. It’s medically proven that both are good for your health and mind.

6) Get moving. Moving your body can release endorphins in your brain which will help you feel more positive. Dance, go for a walk, go running, do yoga, just do something that reminds you that you have a body. And don’t forget to breathe and notice your breathing. This alone can help you feel more grounded.

7) Do something nice for someone else. It makes the other person happy and it will automatically make you feel better. It’s an amazing principle woven into the fabric of the universe.

8) Make a gratitude list. You might be thinking, “A gratitude list?! I’m going through the worst thing imaginable.” I know. Just try it. Start with 1 thing. Then 3. Then 5. Then work your way up to 10. You may find that just writing down one thing will lead you to think of a bunch of other things you hadn’t thought about till now. Examples: friends, the ability to see, the ability to hear, good books, etc.

9) Do something—anything—to improve whatever you feel hopeless about…even if it seems pointless and like it won’t make any difference at all. Joan Baez said, “Action is the antidote to despair,” and she was right. One small positive action might be the beginning of everything turning around for the better. Don’t underestimate the power of starting small.

10) Believe that everything will be okay. It’s better to be an optimist and be wrong than to be a pessimist and be right. If everything ends up turning out well, think of all the days and hours you will have wasted fretting and worrying and being anxious. It’s always better to have faith. It’s better for your entire immune system, your muscles, and every part of your brain. Pessimism isn’t good for anything.

If you need help getting started with any of these and you’d like to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me, please click here and book yourself an appointment. I’d be happy to talk with you!

Grace & love,

Monique