If there is one thing I have become proficient at over the years, it is the art of putting on a confident, happy (or at least happier) face in public on days when I am feeling down. I have known a lot of women who excel at this skill, able to act in public as if life is not overwhelming them on the inside.
The notion of “faking it until you make it” is about going on through life as if you are confident and happy and in time those feelings will become real. It is a skill used daily in the workplace where successful people create relationships easily because they are self-confident and comfortable in their skin. At least they appear that way.
Too many of us, particularly women, grow up thinking that self-confidence and conceit are one in the same. Since cockiness is such a turn-off, many of us subconsciously choose a lower sense of self-worth over the idea of being seen as conceited. While there may, in some cases, be a fine line between confidence and cockiness, there is a line nonetheless. You can have a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence without crossing over that line.
The notion of faking it is often used by therapists as a technique for clients, especially those who are battling anxiety and depression. The idea is to go through life as if you are self-confident and enjoying each moment, despite the fact that initially it feels forced. Then continue doing this until that forced happiness becomes real innate happiness. Experts say that by routinely telling yourself that you can be successful, you will not get stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, you may just discover the ability to handle many more challenges with ease than you had given yourself credit for initially.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Here are a few easy tips for faking it til you make it:
- Imitate confidence. Act as though you are sure of yourself, your abilities and your knowledge.
- Show up. Do not hide in a corner when you are feeling down. Get out and go about your day. Action creates confidence.
- Smile. Have you ever heard the expression that it is impossible to be unhappy when you are smiling? Try it. Yes, really. Go ahead and see for yourself.
- Confide in your network. Build a strong social support network, whether that is one person or several. Knowing that you have people you can trust is a tremendous confidence-builder.
No matter what, remember this: The one person who should always be on your side is you. If we can learn to truly believe in ourselves, then we will not ever have to fake it ‘til we make it again. One of the best lines I ever heard, one that I now remind myself and tell my son often, is this: