If you read my bio, you’ll see that one of my life buzzwords is authenticity. I deeply believe in embracing who you are, rather than trying to be someone else. This commitment to authenticity is visible in both my personal and professional life, and it’s a value I’ve worked hard to embrace. It’s required letting go of who I think I’m supposed to be, making peace with who I am. It’s meant opting out of the comparison game, staying focused on doing me and my thing.
Authenticity is my jam.
So it probably won’t surprise you that I used to hate the phrase, “Fake it till you make it.” I first heard this in my adolescence, dismissing the silly, parental sounding rhyme. I heard it on and off across college, rolling my eyes each time. And then in grad school, I began to hear it more and more.
“Fake it till you make it” was like nails on a chalkboard to me. Fake it? What? No way! As someone who is committed to being authentic, the idea of faking anything seemed counterintuitive. Harmful. Wrong.
But over time, I had a major change of heart. I began to see the phrase differently. “Fake it till you make it” isn’t about being fake or inauthentic. It’s not about pretending.
“Fake it till you make it is about practicing.” Practicing what you know is healthy, even when it’s hard. (Hear more about my obsession with practicing how you want to feel here.)
Feeling lonely and disconnected lately? Fake it till you make it. Practice connection. Call a friend. Say yes to the social invitation, even though it’s tempting to isolate and stay in.
Feeling overwhelmed and worried? Fake it till you make it. Choose calm. Do some deep breathing. Use your coping statements, even if you don’t quite believe them as you say them. With time and practice, they’ll stick.
Feeling unmotivated? Fake it till you make it. Get started and take small action steps, even if you don’t feel like it. Move your feet, and your body will follow.
“Fake it till you make it” isn’t about being fake or inauthentic. It’s not about pretending or lying. It’s a reminder to practice what you know is healthy, even when it’s hard.
It may not feel natural. Yet. You may not feel ready. Yet. It might be uncomfortable. But take action and make the healthy, brave choice. With practice, it gets easier, and your mood will shift.
PS: If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably like this one as well. Self-Care Isn’t What You Think.