Fake It ‘Till You Make It!
“Fake It Till You Make It,” is advice that I am sure you have heard or you might have given. I most certainly have been told to fake it but, in my Jamaican upbringing and into adulthood, it was less delicate and more of a swift kick through the door of opportunity. In turn, I have encouraged my daughter to “put on her big girl panties,” and go do what she has to do.
Any student of metaphysics, Law of Attraction, positive thinking or whatever name you might give to your practice of affirmation and confidence building, would have heard the advice of a similar nature. Here is how Paulo Coelho puts it:
“You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent.”
With Knees Shaking – Fake It
Public speaking is something that I enjoy doing – now. There was a time, however, when my knees shook in the moments leading up to my first public presentation. My speech was written, edited and rehearsed so many times that it was hard to know what was the original text and what were rewrites. Seconds before the microphone opened, a memory coursed through my mind of the man who impressed me the most as a public speaker, The Right Honourable Michael Manley, former Prime Minister of Jamaica.
I faked my way through that first delivery and through many other speeches, sermons and presentations since then. Actually, I have faked my way through many parts of my life. We all do, especially those of us who are a bit more on the introverted side of the personality spectrum.
Only recently, trying to fall asleep one night I watched Oprah interviewing Rihanna on her island home of Barbados. Oprah asked the now multi-millionaire pop star where did she get the chutzpah to travel solo, at 16 years of age, to the United States where her career was launched. Rihanna’s answer was basically that she did what she had to do – knee-shaking, feeling scared to leave Barbados for the first time, she went to follow her dreams.
When we take the advice to “just do it,” what we are encouraged to do is as Rick Sikes wrote:
“Keep doing it. Move, walk, sit, and go through your routines behaving this way. Take a walk down the street. Spend time ‘acting as if’ you are exactly what you want to be feeling and enjoy feeling it. Don’t be skimpy be lavish with yourself. Keep it up, do it throughout the day.”
Four Times You Should Never Fake It
There are, however, times when “fake it ’till you make it,” is not the best course of action. In fact, faking or pretending can have harmful and long-term effect. The impact of your pretending or faking can damage lives – yours and that of others – relationships and send mixed or simply the wrong message. People can and will get hurt and no one will make it when you fake these four things:
1. Happiness: Never, Ever Fake happiness
For so long on my journey, I was an unhappy person pretending to be happy. Only very few knew the depth of my emotional suffering. In Jamaica, there is a saying “tek kin teet kibba heart bun,” that basically translates to “cover your heartache with a smile.” That possibly explains my smile that so many have commended me on. I became a master or mistress, if you prefer, of smiling, but the pain would seep through elsewhere.
My eyes would always show the truth, the depth of my unhappiness:
- as a child
- as a wife twice over
- as a woman with pressing financial needs
- as a mother of a young child, bearing the additional responsibilities of supporting my mother
- as a single woman who did not know herself and searching for love in all the wrong faces
Truth to be told, I became so good at pretending to be happy that there were many years that I actually believed that I was happy. In an ironic way, I faked it but only thought or tried to convince myself that I was making it as a happy person. However, as my spiritual teachers often say, it is not the words that we utter but the feelings behind them. A smile on your face, and responding to people’s empty “How Are You’s” with an equally empty “I’m fine,” does not make it so.
2. Orgasm – It was either orgasmic or not
Some of you might remember that movie, When Harry Met Sally, in which Meg Ryan ‘outed’ us women who have faked it but never making it for so long?
We fake the big O for one of two reasons:
- To get “it” over and done with
- To spare a lover’s feelings
In the end, what you will have to live with is a boring sex life and a proud partner who thinks he/she is delivering the goods. Does either of that sound like the way to your dreams of a fulfilling love life? Please, self-righteous ones, do not begin to give me the spiel that there is more to life than orgasms! What that says to me is that you have never had one. For my guide on how to talk with me on Facebook.
3. Love, True Love Cannot Be Faked
Love is an emotion that we often fake, like orgasms and happiness for one reason – we think that things will work out if we do. Well, they will not. What will is that after spending much of your time pretending to be happy, experiencing the greatest fake orgasms ever and being in love with the person who supposedly took you to nirvana – it will all come out in the wash one day. When that day comes, someone will be hurting real bad.
Speak the truth and speak it ever…
4. Empathy Is Not Sympathy
Empathy and sympathy are not the same things. Many people do not understand this. While they are similar, there is a subtle and deep difference – one that cannot be faked.
“The feeling of sympathy emerges from the recognition that another person is suffering, in contrast to empathy, where the other person’s pain or suffering is felt. A person expresses sympathy, but shares empathy. The empathic feeling may be brief, and the person feeling it is said to ‘put themselves in the other person’s place’.” (Source: Diffen.com)
My reason for never feeling the need to confess “my sins” to a priest is a good example of the difference between sympathy and empathy. Having never experienced a stillbirth, supposedly never had sex and also never experiencing betrayal by the person who you shared the most intimate journey with, a priest can only “sympathise” with the broken-ness of spirit of a woman who has walked that road.
So, I bore the pain and suffering until one day, I was in the company of women who have travelled that path. They were not professional counsellors, teachers nor were they psychologists, but they empathized because they felt similar pain.
Faking empathy is almost impossible but there are those who try. If you are one of them, share with me how that worked for you. Bet it did not.
“Faking It” Can Leave an H.O.L.E.
As you can see, my four “Never Fake Moments” spell the word H.O.L.E.
That is exactly where you will be when you try to fake either happiness, orgasms, love or empathy. I especially like the way Darren Hardy, a leading Mentor to CEO’s, states it:
“I have found that when people fake anything, they only produce more fakeness, and that leads to disconnect, trouble, misery and ultimately failure.”
While I have in the past and will still today suggest faking it until you get to where you want to be – what is important to remember is that:
- Like attracts like
- Feelings (emotion) determines everything
- Life is energy and vibration
So whatever you put out there will call its match. Your heart is the ‘place’ from where everything flows. Faking or pretending to be happy when in your heart you are feeling the very opposite, will only attract more reasons and situations for unhappiness. Another hackneyed but true phrase that summarizes why faking any of the “hole” aspects is “Your vibe attract your tribe!”
Want to know more about how to keep it real not to find yourself in a H.O.L.E.? Connect with me, leave a comment below and be sure to Subscribe to this blog and my newsletter to get regular updates and tips not published here and shared with members only.
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