Friday, May 27, 2011

Faking It - Do you?

There are a few things that come to mind when you say "faking it" - usually the first is orgasms.  But there are a whole lot of things that people fake in their lives.  I don't think faking it at times is all bad - it has it's time and place.  Can you just imagine if people didn't fake things on a regular basis?  Say, for example, when you ask someone "How are you?".  They may actually be feeling like crap and be miserable, but they will probably answer "Good, and you?".  Would you consider this faking it?

It made me start thinking about what else people fake, and why they do it.  Here is a short list of things people often fake:
  • being nice to someone you don't really like
  • being sick (or the good old "headache")
  • knowing about something you really don't know anything about
  • being rich or successful
  • weight
  • confidence
  • a smile or laughter
  • giving an honest opinion (really, those jeans don't make your butt look fat)
  • your resume
  • your age
  • a tan
  • plastic surgery
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and some may cross over into "lying" territory rather than "faking it" territory.  So in which situations is faking it a good thing?  I see nothing wrong in little white lies where you have someone's best interest at heart and no harm is ultimately done.  I also believe in faking how you feel at certain times.  If you're down in the dumps, it's often easier to fake being happy - not only for you but also for those around you.  Often pretending to be happy results in you ultimately being happy.  Of course I'm not talking about major things but rather more temporary or trivial things.  I don't propose that people suppress their negative emotions and not deal with life's challenges... but sometimes it can be useful.  I remember faking being happy after a breakup - not only for his sake, but also for my pride and for the sake of my friends (who I'm sure did not want to hear for the 100th time what a jerk the guy was).  I've also heard that smiling boosts our immune system, reduces our stress, lowers our blood pressure, and makes people like us more. A pretty good argument for putting on a happy face.

I'm also trying to be a believer in the good old "self-fulfilling prophecy" philosophy.  I was recently given a book to read called The Biology of Belief.  There are people who just generally believe good things will happen, and for them, they usually do.  Take my husband for example.  He never worries about parking, he just expects there to be a spot.  Most of the time, that's the case.  On the other hand, I worry about finding parking and I often have to circle and circle to find a spot.  So I've been trying hard lately to "fake" believing in the things I want to have actually happen.  I guess when things do start to happen, I'll become more of a believer.  I will say it's hard to make the change in my head.  I think some people are just born as positive thinkers and believers, while others who are more worriers - like me.  I'll let you know if faking it helps change that!

I also think faking confidence is a good thing.  I remember my first day on the job as an articling student at a big downtown Toronto law firm.  One of the first tasks I was given was an Affidavit of Documents.  I think I was hyperventilating because I had no idea what it was.  But I remained calm and when I found out what it was... no big deal (basically just filing all of the documents in the case in date order).  I take this lesson into many aspects of my life - I reckon I'm bright enough to figure things out in most cases - so why not fake it till I do?!

I think we fake things for the most part to mask insecurities and to feel better about ourselves.  We're concerned with the possible judgment that may be passed by our family, friends and peers.  I think this is especially true in motherhood.  We worry about so many things and wonder if others will find us lacking if truth be told, we didn't always have all of the answers.  I'm sure we've all had those mom moments when we discover that another mom has a similar challenge and concern and we feel utter relief that we are not alone.  Those are the times I think faking it is bad.  The times we need the support and encouragement from fellow moms.

At the end of the day, we all do it to a certain extent.  As long as we do for the better good and stay true to ourselves, I really see no harm.  When faking it ends up suppressing or hurting ourselves in some way (or others), then it's time to step back and re-evaluate.  In the meantime, I'm super happy it's Friday afternoon and the weekend is upon us.  And I'm not faking that at all!

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