This is a phrase that I have had many a debate about - with myself. I'd give myself a good talking to by, on the one hand, telling myself that positive thinking and 'faking it' is all al load of codswallop, and how on Earth could faking a feeling or an emotion or a belief be of any use to me? I mean, it's not real! It's pretentious and I am not.
On the other hand, I could give it a go, couldn't I? What did I have to lose, right? If I laughed at something that I didn't really find funny, would that really turn my negative emotion into a positive one? Would it really make anxiety go away, even for a short while? Or if I thought long and hard enough and believed that I could conquer anxiety completely, would it really happen? Or what if I believed that I was brave enough to bungee jump? Would I actually go through with it?
The answer was a resounding no! I gave up as quick as I'd started because I didn't believe it could work. At least, not for me anyway.
Many people do not understand the term 'fake it 'til you make it'. I didn't. It is not as easy, in my opinion, to just pretend. I found myself exhausted from the pretence which made my anxiety worse. Which in turn, only exacerbated my feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth and low vibrating energy. And when we put out a low energy, we get low energy back. That's the way it works.
So that is where it has to change! In order to attract positive energy vibrations, we must give it out. A lesson I have learnt in a very harsh way. I am not suggesting that this is the only method to combat anxiety, low self-esteem or low confidence. Different methods work for some and not others. But it may be a strategy that could help if you are open to it. Anxiety has many manifestations that this theory couldn't and wouldn't work for, however, this is a starting point to help you to believe your worth.
Let me go more into how and why you could try 'fake it 'til you make it'.
This phrase has been around since before circa 1973-ish and is a suggestion that by emulating confidence, optimism, and valuing oneself, we can start to realise that we are no longer faking it and that we are what we believe. But that is the hard part, belief.
I'm not talking about pretending you've hit the jackpot in a monetary sense or spending your hard earned cash like you have an unlimited supply. That would be silly. I am talking about the way you perceive yourself and your anxieties.
During the many times I have tried to employ this concept, I have failed. And that is because I did not believe in it. Not really. I FELT fake. I felt like "who was I kidding?" Them? Or me? Or both? The key to 'faking it 'til you make it' is to start believing. Because in reality, you are all of those wonderful things you want to portray to people and to yourself. So when you look at it like that, you are not actually faking anything at all. What you are doing, is unbecoming who you are not, and believing in and acting as who you really are! By suppressing the negatives, you are allowing the real you to shine through.
That is not to say that any feelings of negativity should be ignored. Talking to those who are close to you about what you are feeling is a necessary part of the self-healing process. Faking it til you make it is a method you could choose to use in certain situations, such as, social situations or even on your own at home and in conjunction with other self-help remedies.
To take action is a choice. Feelings are often something we do not choose. But actions promote feelings so the two go hand in hand when we CHOOSE to take action. If we are pro-active, we can replace feelings of anxiety, low self-love and low confidence with feelings of joy, inclusion and feeling valued by ourselves and others. To 'act as if' we have already conquered anxiety, to 'act as if' we are completely happy with ourselves and our accomplishments, will, in time become our reality. Faking it 'til you make it will not produce results overnight. It is not a quick fix and I am certainly not endorsing this method as the only way to gain back the self confidence that anxiety robbed from us. But it is an option if you are willing to try it.
I have had success with this method personally once I believed in my self-affirmations. Such as, I have actually found myself genuinely laughing, being complimented and actually accepting said compliment, so much so that I had forgotten about the anxiety I felt at the beginning of the day. The result was that I ended up having an anxiety free day which was an accomplishment for me.
In summary, if we behave like we have slayed anxiety, if we act like we love ourselves, if we keep on smiling, if we believe in ourselves, we surely will find ourselves having to try less to become who we truly are.
Fake it 'til you make it?
Absolutely give it a try if you think it may help. But believe it also.
It's controversial and remember, this is my opinion only.
Love as always