How Much Harm is There in Faking it?

We all fake it sometimes—and I’m not talking about orgasms.

I’m referring to our well-being. We fake being happy and content with ourselves and our lives.

How many times do you post a picture on Facebook, grinning from ear to ear when you know your heart isn’t smiling? How many times have you been asked by a friend, “How are you?” And you, without even considering the option of being honest, reply, “Good. I’m good.”

When you’re not.

In fact, you’re not good at all. You are sad, so sad. Confused, so confused. Lost, so lost. Lonely, oh so lonely. You walk around with that smile. That smile, that thwarts any opportunity for someone to get close to you, to support you and to know the real you.

Why do we fake it? Because it’s easier to pretend than to be courageous. It takes bravery to trust another and strength and confidence to show weakness.

Our muscles are inherently lazy, we have to make them work, they won’t work on their own. The same goes for mindfulness.

It’s easy to fake your way through the day, pretending to be happy when all you want to do is curl into a ball and have someone hold you, cradle you, stroke your hair and tell you over and over again, “It will be okay, it will be okay,” that takes work—it takes consciousness.

I say to my students in class, “Practice makes perfect, but it can also make pain.” If we hold a posture incorrectly it can compromise the joints and the integrity of our anatomy. Eventually, if we keep doing it, we will become injured and end up out of commission.

The same applies to our wellbeing. What seems easier at the time—not engaging our muscles of courage and confronting the weak spots in our psyche and our life—can eventually cause atrophy, leaving us worse off than if we wiped the fake smile off of our faces and said, “I need help. I need support.” 

Being well, being healthy emotionally takes work, it doesn’t just, poof, appear with a smile and an “I’m good.” Give yourself more credit than that. You are a complex, brilliantly constructed, living human being whose job in life is to figure out how all your parts work together, so you can serve this world at your finest, strongest, most balanced self, otherwise you’re of no use to anyone, especially yourself.

Being healthy and balanced (I use this word instead of happy as happy is fleeting but balance has longevity) takes time and patience, uncovering the pains of the past and their role in your present.

Balance is cultivated through discipline to live cleanly from an environmental standpoint to an emotional one. Synergy with our being and with the world develops, through practice—trial and error, making mistakes, connecting with the wrong people, jobs, things and then making corrections, learning how to cope and recover when life doesn’t go as we planned, and discovering how to harness the power to admit when we are most certainly not ok.

This is the practice of mindfulness.

We are responsible for ourselves so we may in turn be of service to the world. We are meant to work together so that when we have solid working relationship with our fellow man we become responsible for them through sheer proximity.

In order to work well, we need to feel equality. That equality is built through honesty. We have to be honest about who we are, how we are and what we are going through. This is also the solution to our loneliness and the way to create connections with others through our openness and transparency.

When you fake it, you are not only hurting yourself but you are hurting everyone else too. Everyone else is looking at you, feeling less than adequate. Equality goes out the door and disconnectedness and competition enters, “I wish I could be that happy. Look how happy they look, I wish we were that happy too.”

The statement, “Fake it till you make it,” pisses me off. I think it’s foolish advice.

Whenever I’ve faked it, I end up feeling like a fraud. If I’m suffering inside but don’t show it, or I don’t know something but pretend I do, I carry a burden of guilt and I invite dishonesty and pain into my life, because of it.

Not to make this about orgasms, but I’ve faked most orgasms during sex and it’s only left me unsatisfied and ashamed—ashamed at myself for not being truthful with my partner and for not being my own advocate. For not flexing my muscles of courage and asking for what I need and in return, creating a bond of intimacy that is necessary for two humans to work together, to create something lasting, for the betterment of themselves and the world.

Whether it is orgasms or internal balance, I need the support of others to heal from the sadness, grief, shame, guilt and confusion I experience—the symptoms of living.

I’m not meant to live alone and I can’t heal alone either.

This isn’t a “How to find happiness article,” because I don’t know you. I don’t know how you learn. We all learn differently, but I do know one thing that is universal: communication.

We have to communicate with the people closest to us.

It is imperative for the health of our minds, bodies and hearts that we share our feelings and learn to rely on others to help us through the difficult times.

The next time someone asks you how you are feeling, or you begin to write a status update or post a picture on Facebook, why not try to be socially responsible, mindful and conscious. Ask yourself,“Is it genuine?”  Because everyone will believe it is and to fake it is to perpetuate the feelings of inadequacy and disconnectedness you are already feeling.

Take into consideration the global affect you can have by posting an inaccurate portrayal of yourself and then, think about the impact you could have by being honest, whether that is in joy or in sadness.

We have a choice in every moment, whether that is in our consumption of GMOs and plastics to the words we speak—do we want to damage the world, or repair it?

So today, don’t be afraid to tell the truth, because when you do, you become stronger for it, your relationships deepen, and the next time you smile, will be for real, because you’ll know you are helping to repair the world, just by being honest.

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