My mother-in-law was the source of many witticisms that come into play in my daily life, the top two being "Get over yourself" and "Act as if..." The latter is the message of today's guest Karen Monroy and her inspiring essay. I recently read and enjoyed her article on connections, inner voice and truth in Psychology Today. You can find that here.
I'm happy to have her here today. Enjoy!
A Case for Faking it Until You Make it
Life is always in between the old and the new, like the upswing and the downswing of a pendulum: what was and what will be. Some of us are more comfortable than others with this sense of in-between-ness. How we adapt is the process of evolution—social, personal, cultural, or technological. The pendulum of evolution is always in full swing.
Evolution is a fact of living on this earth. Either we are evolving or we are dying. Conscious evolution comes from our desire to not argue with the inevitability of change.
In the process of evolution, we can see the old way isn’t working, but the new way isn’t clear, whether as an individual or a group.
We teeter-totter in the misfit state between two worlds. We try new actions and behaviors, but don’t do them consistently or follow them up appropriately. The old has a tendency to creep back, undoing the new we accomplished. We’re getting inconsistent results in what we desire or prefer, and we understand the meaning of “two steps forward, one step back.”
For both a society and the individual members of society, it’s a painful place to be—like trying to occupy both sides of the Grand Canyon at the same time.
But behind this old way, something vital is happening. Like a snake shedding its skin, we’re attempting to free ourselves from constraints that no longer work for who we need to become to fulfill our life. However, unlike the snake, compelled to shed its skin by much wiggling and writhing, we’re able to move through this becoming to the new us without the pain—if we are willing.
Here is the first hurdle: your belief that you have to learn through pain. You believe pain is the only way people learn, that learning through joy isn’t an option.
What would learning through joy look like in your own situation or the global situation? What would it be like to accept the pain of the in-between moment—minus the suffering? How powerful would you be if you could discern your part, and then do it and move on? Can you imagine discontinuing the dwelling, arguing, analyzing, and procrastinating?
Faking it until you are making it means acting as if you really are the new person, in the new world, trying to be born.
I like to teach a five-minute meditation: centering, breathing, and lovingly putting the old you in a comfortable box.
List the behaviors of the old you that you want to leave behind. Worrying, complaining, powerlessness, victimhood, gossiping, stinginess, ingratitude, hurry, disconnectedness? Whatever your list is, write it down and put it in the box, too.
If the rational part of you is saying, “This is just symbolic,” remember this: so is money. Do you disregard your symbolic paper money as insignificant?
Affirm you’ll return and open the box at the end of the day—that this is just an experiment, and the old stuff is hanging out in the box for a temporary time period.
Then, for one day, fake it until you make it. (If things are dire, you may have to attempt this for only an hour.)
Act like the creative, powerful, wise, strong, compassionate person you want to evolve into. Let your no be no and your yes be yes. Firmly affix the new persona in your mind, how it walks, talks, acts, thinks—embody the entire new self. From putting a smile on your face to feeling all the feelings the new you desires, your energy, your vibration, and your thoughts shift.
The biggest hurdle most folks encounter at this stage is one of defending–defending what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.
“I have nothing to defend” is a must mantra.
You don’t have to explain why you can’t take a meeting at four. The appropriate answer is, “No, I can’t. What other times do you have available?”
The need to justify, explain, sell, convince, or defend is a warning signal that the old you is wiggling out of the box. The circumstance or situation before you is the perfect one on which to practice. Do not equivocate.
The question foremost in your mind is, “How would the new me respond?” When necessary, “Let me think about it” is a good time-out response for regrouping and staying on track.
No matter your time frame for faking it, be sure to record how your experiment went.
- · Notice your current state—do you want the old you back?
Generally, with each practice of faking it until you make it, the new you blooms gracefully.
No more writhing out of the old skin like the snake.
And consider this: If you’re not up to practicing the new you—proving whether it works or not—kindly ask yourself, “Am I ready for the change I say I want in my life?”
In the end, we have a choice. We find ways to initiate healthy positive change, or we stay in between—between the old and the new, what was and what will be—with much unnecessary suffering.
Fake it until you make it.
Try it. You might like it.
BIO for Dr. Karen Monroy:
Dr. Monroy is a spiritual psychotherapist, economist, author, CEO, wife and mother. She is passionate about teaching Sustainable Prosperity, the Spiritual Principles everyone needs to live fulfilled, joyful and prosperous.
Her book, the "30 day Money Master Mind Make-Over" has won a National INDIE Excellence award and her new book for children, “Mommy, what is rich?” is nominated for several awards.