Everyday, we fake a little in order to get by, whether we want to believe it or not. You don’t like that co-worker of yours but you still offer a friendly “good morning”, right? Or how about that pesky in-law coming over for the holidays? You’re going to do the best you can to make him or her feel welcome.
As the old adage goes, “fake it till you make it.” The key to faking positivity is to think of it as a game. You’re working from the outside in to make change happen. We can shape our reality by being good actors on the stage of life, playing out roles that end up seeping into our real “off stage” being.
So what traits can you “fake” into existence?
- Courage. We all experience degrees of fear every day of our lives. But it’s important to not let it rule us. If you’re asking for raise, for instance, dare to look your employer straight in the eye. Straighten your back. Act the role of an assertive person who deserves a raise. Maybe deep inside you’re feeling terrified but you’ve made sure that on the outside, you look firm and strong.
Still struggling? Imagine your favorite hero or heroine asking for a raise? Or a highly successful businessperson you admire (or one you don’t. You might not like Donald Trump but do you think he would squirm when asking for a raise? I don’t think so.)
- Sexiness. It’s tough being sexy, isn’t it? Oh sure, people look sexy but that’s very different than feeling sexy. Most of us struggle with exhibiting our true sexual nature. And for good reason. The world around us often penalizes us for doing so (especially women). But being sexual feels good and natural. So paint a picture in your mind. What if you did feel confident with your sexuality? Really confident? What would it look like? How would you dress? What would your posture be like? How would you speak? Once again, look to people in your life (or celebrities) who ooze that certain something. Dare to imitate it!
- Compassion and warmth. Life can dole out some pretty hard days–ones that leave us feeling totally depleted of love and kindness. We end up feeling guilty because loved ones, well…aren’t feeling the love. Remember, it feels good to be kind and available to others. So the next time you’re feeling cold and kicked to the curb, put a gentle smile on your face. (That alone signals to others that you’re approachable and available.) Another helpful “fake it” technique? Listen. You may not feel like talking after a hard day anyway so the act of listening takes the spotlight off of you and makes another feel cared for.
- Vigorous and full of life. This can feel especially tough when you’re beaten down. But it’s possible to fake liveliness into existence too…and pretty easily. Go for a walk or better yet, a run. (Nothing beats circulation to bring you back to life.) Listen to some loud music, dance and sing out. Fake a hearty laugh for one full minute. Breathe in fresh air and breathe out that crusty, old negativity. Your body responds to these “outside in” cues and you’ll be glowing with life in no time.
Of course, you don’t want to try these approaches for others. That’s “faking it” in a bad way. Ultimately you want to make these changes for yourself. Sometimes your mind needs to be tricked into feeling differently. A ripple effect soon happens and soon, your shitty day just turned into a pretty day.