Watching a performance, I saw one person whose eyes were watering and nose was dripping. I wondered whether she had a cold or had pulled a muscle or if perhaps someone had died. The next day the same person was on stage smiling and fully engaged in the performance. Afterwards, I shared my observation from the night before inquiring whether it was physical or emotional distress.
Emotional. She said, “Today, I decided to fake it until I make it!” Profound words from a teenager. And yet, isn’t that life?
As a public speaker, there are times I’m just not in the mood for the topic, the people, or the venue. Yet, I fake it until I make it. In July, I was scheduled to teach on a night that my kids had an event. I was irritated; according to my contract the class was supposed to be cancelled. I showed up a bit perturbed and shared my consternation with an early arrival. She, in turn, shared how much the class meant to her; it was helping fulfill her requirements. Each person who arrived shared a similar story. They were there specifically for my topic! I arrived “faking it” and those adult learners helped me make it an authentic training!
Family gatherings or most any social event can involve faking it until we make it. Many of us have “skeleton(s)” in our closet. Some of us are more private while others are very open. Miscarriages, death, law breaking, and addictions cause some to retreat into a hermit’s hole while others capitalize on these opportunities to expand empathetic networks. When we are living in the midst of stressful social situations, we may sway from one extreme to the other—Don’t talk to me about XYZ TO Why don’t you ask me about XYZ? It’s none of your business TO Don’t you care about what’s going on? We may put on a happy face but not really feel it. Hopefully, strong support systems are in place to help one transform the “fake”.
Until You Make It
I have to admit, it is easier to reach out to a positive authentic person than one in a negative space. Just the other day, I saw a teenager who was “lit up!” She excitedly exclaimed over the results of her recent project. Her passion about this self-driven project showed in her words and actions! I had no trouble talking to her at length about the subject matter—her joyfulness lifted me up. No faking involved!
However, at times, authenticity is sadness, grief, anger, etc. Life is about the spectrum that exists between the extremes. Our life journeys are not static. Every day is filled with many choices. Figuring out the occasional necessity in “fake it until you make it” is a valuable life lesson.
Lemons into Lemonade
Whether physical, emotional or otherwise, I hope that when life throws you lemons, you are able to make lemonade. Fake it until you make it what you want it to be!