Fake It 'Til You Make It

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I've always believed that you can convince yourself of anything. Want to be a workout junkie but hate actually working out? Just lie to yourself (and everyone around you- it's the only way this works) and say "Oh, I love working out." Eventually, you will believe it. Trying to get over someone you are still head-over-heels in love with? Keep telling yourself that you are over them- eventually you will be. Or will you?

I've been using this tactic for quite a while now, and while it may be healthy in some cases (like working out), I can't help but think that I may be doing myself a disservice by repressing certain things. I finally got over Mark (sorta- I think) by continuously saying things like "I'm over him," or "I don't care anymore" to everyone I know (and on this blog). But is it really true or have I just pushed those feelings to the darkest corners of my brain, like I do with everything else I don't want to think about (bills, my not-so-great credit score, etc).

I know that repression can lead to major problems later, and it's much healthier to confront your feelings, but I am completely non-confrontational- in every aspect of my life, so I prefer to ignore the things that I don't want to face.

But I'm getting off topic here. My point was basically this- can you convince yourself of pretty much anything and change any negative behavior? I'm going to try to act like a confident person, rather than the painfully shy, self-conscious person that I really am, and see if it does anything to change my level of confidence. Basically, I am going to put "Fake it 'til you make it," to the test and see if it actually works.

Anyone want to try this experiment with me? (doesn't have to be confidence, just any behavior you want to change). I'm curious to see if it really works, so the more participants, the better.


Velvet 10/10/2006 11:22:00 AM  

You know, it's funny you post this. I was just telling someone the other day that when people make severe proclamations about themselves it's usually a lie. Take for instance the person who swears they never tell a lie. Usually turns out they are the biggest liars in the bunch. So don't try too hard at this!

I-66 10/10/2006 11:24:00 AM  

"It's not a lie if you believe it"

Anonymous,  10/10/2006 11:33:00 AM  

I'll fake it till I make it if you need company. I'm going through exactly the same thing you are. I take great comfort in reading celebrity gossip rags and learning about stars breaking up and getting on, because it makes me feel not so alone. Hey, if Jen can break up with Brad and get over HIM, then I can definitely get over my ex. But SURE, I'll totally do this with you as an experiment. I'm SO OVER my ex. I will now say this every day.

oss 10/10/2006 11:58:00 AM  

I think faking it til you make it can work for LOTS of things. They used that phrase a lot at the drug and alcohol rehab I did my practicum in for my undergraduate degree. And "fake it 'til you make it" is EXACTLY what I did to get over the majority of the social anxiety I had as a kid (although I wouldn't have known to call it that at the time.)

But, while faking it til you make it is great for changing behaviors, I don't think it works too well for changing how you really feel. As for getting over someone, it's always been part half-assed "fake it til you make it", part allowing myself to be REALLY angry at the guy, and part using methods I've learned in cognitive therapy (changing your beliefs) the past year. But that's just me.

PRSlaveDC 10/10/2006 01:31:00 PM  

I actually think Fake it till you make it works pretty well for most things except getting over the relationship...

In my experience, no matter how many times I tell myself that I'm over the ex, or tell other people that I am, hearing from her still makes me just that little bit unsure that I might be completely deluding myself. Instead, I feel better about it, just like the edge of the cliff is a little closer than I'd like.

However, I'm definitely faking it till I make it re: the job situation. Of course, I'm going to find something new and better... I say that multiple times every day. So I'm with you step for step.

Tacoma,  10/10/2006 06:09:00 PM  

Would "who you really are" include Shy and self consious. Your behavior may be shy and self consious, but does that describe who you really are in your heart of hearts?
Hopefully I'm not going tangental here but it's almost a councelling thing-- seperating the behavior from like- your soul.
I think right now what you do could be considered faking it, not speaking up, hiding what you know (your great work ethic, your knowledge).
So you could say that speaking out and being confident would be Truthfull because you were showing your self and not hiding.

JESUS. Have I totally twisted the language?
Good luck,

nicole 10/10/2006 08:18:00 PM  

I so wanna believe your theory is right. There are a SLEW of beliefs I need to make myself believe. Especially that working out part.

Maybe I need to start practicing? ;)

David in DC,  10/10/2006 11:52:00 PM  

One of the things high-achieving, intelligent people have in common, according to a lot of psychological research, is a fear that they're not really all that great and that the next test (crisis, assignment, project) around the corner is the one that's going to prove they've been faking it all along.

It took a bunch of years of therapy to recognize this in myself.

My guess is that, in a lot of ways, you're NOT faking it, and ARE making it, already.

You just have to believe it, or, until you can convince yourself otherwise, let the positive evaluations of others have at least as much of your attention as your own --- potentially self-sabotaging --- fear that you're not already making it.

You do good work, you write well, you have a lot of folks (in the real world and here online) who think you're swell.

Please, please, please allow for the possibility that we're right.

(This works well for a lot of things, but not so much for relationships.

There it's just a matter of waiting for time to heal wounds.

It helps if time also wounds heels, so let's all root for Mark having a spectacular comeuppance in the not-too-distant future.)

Eric 10/11/2006 07:45:00 AM  

I've been trying this move for over 2 years now, with pretty good results, until I run into her of course, which always seems to happen every few months and messes everything up.

The Husband 10/11/2006 08:26:00 AM  

i admire you desire to change. it takes alot of courage. i'm anxious to see the results!

Ricardo 10/11/2006 01:27:00 PM  

Tried it and it just didn't work. I felt I was living a lie.

I don't think you'll be happy with this but I'm curious to see what happens.

Ashburnite 10/11/2006 07:36:00 PM  

velvet- very true...kind of like the "me thinks he doest protest too much" factor.

I-66- very good point.

anon- good. please let me know if it works for you.

oss- but is it possible to change your beliefs by convincing yourself of those new, more positive beliefs?

prslave- yeah, I'm thinking that getting over an ex is a little more complicated. how is the job situation, by the way?

tacoma- I don't know..it's a little tough to figure out if my being shy is "faking it," since I know my shit, or if it's really me, since I have absolutely no confidence.

nicole- the working out thing really does work. I used to loathe working out, but I've convinced myself that I love it.

david- seriously, I am constantly worried that someone is going to realize that I'm not as intelligent as they think I am. I've also heard that before- that super-intelligent people are constantly worried that they'll be "found out." and by the way, thank-you...you are too sweet!

eric- isn't that the worst?? when you run into them? luckily, I haven't run into Mark yet, but I know it's only a matter of time..NOVA is only so big..

spacks- thanks, sweety.

spacks2- doesn't Spot rock??

ricardo- I have found that I am very susceptible to suggestion, so I think if I keep convincing myself of something, it will work for me. at least I hope so.

MappyB 10/16/2006 11:39:00 AM  

I'm a big believe in sobbing like a baby and doing the whole 'poor me' routine for a whole week. Hopefully someone will see humor in themselves doing that and will have had time to grieve and then move on feeling much less pathetic. But then again, I LOVE POSITIVE THINKING!!!!

Hm...count me in.

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