Fake it Till You Make It? True AND False.

Yes and no; some truth and some deceit. Find out when you can, and can’t, “fake it” in this week’s edition of “Isn’t That Ironic?”.

Fake it till you make it! I first encountered this saying as a young musician learning to improvise. I’m still fakin’ it! (I love Simon and Garfunkel’s song by that name.) I never did get very good at the complex skill of improvisation. It’s kind of ironic that such an apparently ridiculous phrase would hold any truth at all.

What does this aphorism really mean? Various people have attributed lots of different meanings to this simple phrase. Psychologist’s use it. They have their own understanding of how and why it works. You can check out this article in Psychology Today, for example. In short, the way we act is connected to our thoughts and emotions—and the line of causality runs both ways. We can affect our emotions by the way we act. From the article,

Acting "as if" is a common prescription in psychotherapy. It's based on the idea that if you behave like the person you want to become, you'll become like this in reality:

  • If you want to feel happier, do what happy people do—smile.

  • If you want to get more work done, act as if you are a productive person.

  • If you want to have more friends, behave like a friendly person.

  • If you want to improve your relationship, practice being a good partner.

Faking it until you make it only works when you correctly identify something within yourself that's holding you back. Behaving like the person you want to become is about changing the way you feel and the way you think. (Bold is mine.)

The “within yourself” is critical. It’s all about you, not about anything outside yourself. If you spend money like you’re rich, you’ll only end up further in debt. If you act a certain way to impress someone else, you’re only acting like a fool. Proper “faking it” is about connecting with a part of your inner self that you are presently covering up, and you want to bring out. That leads us to the spiritual view of “Fake it till you make it”.

As you know, we are composite creatures: spirit, mind, body. Each affects the others. That’s why the way we act in our body, affects our mind and our spirit. The way we think in our mind also affects our spirit and the actions of our body.

For our spiritual growth, we want to connect with our divine self, our spirit, our goodness, etc. (You fill in the aspect of the divine that you most want to develop.) If we act more compassionately, then we will connect with that divine compassion that is already within us, but we are hiding. If we act with more forgiveness, then we will connect with divine forgiveness. If we act more lovingly, then we will connect with the divine love. All these divine attributes are natural attributes of our spirit, which is created in the image and likeness of God.

In a spiritual sense, “fake it till you make it” means to act holy and you will become holy. Because, in truth, you already are holy, you’ve just been hiding it. You’ve been letting attributes of your ego shine too much—your anger, your selfishness, your judgements of others, your pride. Don’t take it personally. All of us do that. That’s what the human condition is all about. “Fake” your holiness and you will gradually connect with that holiness that lives, perhaps hidden, within you.

The master teacher said, “You are the light of the world”. All of us hide that light too much. Uncover the light within you. Just let it shine!

God Bless You!

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© Copyright 2019 by Donald lee.