Sometimes I catch myself faking it. Our culture makes this popular through sayings like, Fake it ’til you make it. Then, it penalizes us for being inauthentic.
Inauthenticity is one of many scarlet letters we talk a lot about but poorly understand. I suspect we poorly understand it, because I see how we have weaponized it against ourselves and one another. If someone shows up with inauthenticity, faking it ’til they can make it, we feel justified writing that person off, judging him or her harshly, and often in social settings when that person is not present.
We all lie, fake it sometimes, and still do our best to show up. Sometimes, it is ourselves we lie to most. This is another typical human behavior we try to run from. Especially until we gain a modicum of developmental maturity, and even then, we are working with different shades and densities of the same material.
So, what can we do when we observe ourselves faking it, fibbing, exaggerating, or otherwise augmenting truth? Of course there are no easy answers and yet many, many answers. Each faker must find their own way out. However, before I set us all free to contemplate this further, which we are all capable of doing without my blog post on the matter, I’ll share one thought:
This is a perfect time to apply modern bravery and turn toward a problem with curiosity, rather than run from it. When I catch myself faking, it is almost always onto one of two treacherous branches:
- Because it’s been adaptive. Someone in the room expected it from me. It’s gotten me this far. Thank you. These are our ill-fitting shoulds.
- Because I’m flirting with being the person I want to be. I’m paving the way for growth that’s coming down the line–butt scooting down the sled hill, so to speak. These are our honest yearnings, that don’t quite fit, yet.
If you find yourself in the midst of an ill-fitting should: pause, laugh (or don’t), set it down, and carry on.
And if you find yourself reaching toward an honest yearning, pause. Breath in the promise of things yet to come, and stay dedicated in action steps toward your yearning. You are growing into the trustworthy person you will become in time, if you lead yourself with accountability. Shake off your faker moment and make it more real.
In either case, carry on with your day knowing that you’ve noticed, and that’s most of the battle. There is no time to judge or hail negativity onto yourself. If you catch someone else in his, or her moment, know there is no time to hold others in ill regard through gossip. Clarify with the person if it’s important. Hold them accountable if it’s been going on too long, with grace and boundaries.
Remember, holding someone else’s vulnerability in your hands can make you feel powerful. Treat it like a bird you may have found in a tough spot, that’s not fully feathered yet. Handle it with gentleness. With intention. Without ownership.