Personal Growth By Mary Jaksch How often have you heard, ‘Fake it till you make it’? It’s recommended behaviour. We’re supposed to pretend until we are the real thing. I recently was at a conference and listened to a motivational speaker. He told people how happy he was, how successful he was. He boasted of his Porsche, his million dollar mansion, and hauled his young, blond wife on stage to show her off as one of his trophies. The audience was ecstatic. All except me, that is. Because my teeth were on edge and all I could think of was, “Fake, fake, fake!” I could see the whole thing for what it was: a class act. It wasn’t real. This was not a happy man, not a kind man. I could feel that deep down he was troubled, angry, and deceitful. What about caring for others? Is it acceptable to fake kindness, or love? Seth Godin, a well-known blogger suggests that ‘pretending you care’ is an acceptable alternative to showing that you don’t. Is it really? He goes on to say: If people start out pretending to care, next thing you know, they actually do care. They like the positive feedback and they like the way being kind makes them feel. It spreads. It sticks. That’s the theory of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’: at first you pretend, and then it turns into the real thing. . Putting on a happy face . The Huffington Post recently interviewed social psychologist Fred B. Bryant: Putting on a happy face–even if you don’t feel like it–actually induces greater happiness, says Bryant. So be exuberant. Don’t just eat the best peach of the season–luxuriate in every lip-smacking mouthful. Laugh aloud at the movies. Smile at yourself in the mirror. I’m sure we’ve all met people like that. You ask them, “How are you?” and they bare their teeth in a fake smile and say, “I’m fine!” . Affirmations . Have you ever tried affirmations? They’re another way of ‘faking it ‘til you make it’. People trying to slim down, look in the mirror and say to themselves, ‘I’m slim and beautiful!’, even though they can see the bulges and sags. We are lying to ourselves and there is a wise part within that knows a lie when it hears one. We are trying to brainwash ourselves. (Having said that, there are ways of using affirmations that don’t go down the road of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. That’s if we focus on the inner knowledge that we have everything that we need for success.) Dr Annie Kaszina states: Before very long, “faking it” has created a new, authentic experience of your desired state. Does faking it create an ‘authentic’ experience? Does pretending to be kind lead to kindness? Does pretending to be happy lead to happiness? Does pretending to care lead to love? Let’s be clear about ‘faking it ‘til you make it’: Faking is lying My question is: What happens to your soul in the process? We lose integrity. Integrity means that and ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ is congruent. We instinctively trust people of integrity. Because we know in our heart of hearts that they are not faking it. That they are worthy of our trust. Don’t bother to try and be the best fake you can be. Focus on authentic experience and leave faking to the con artists. Be real. What do you think about ‘fake it ’til you make it’?