Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Faking it...

"Even if you don't feel it, you should fake it 'until you make it'."

What? How? But the...I'm confused!

This, endorsed by a pastor, came up on a 'Question of the Day' for me in a group I belong to.  It was something that resonated with me but not in a positive way and I'm afraid that my response wasn't either.

This does not, cannot, work for me.  I cannot fake it anymore.  That doesn't mean I'm going to be a socially unacceptable raving person but I'm not going to be nice just because it is expected and hope I'll feel nice sooner or later!

Maybe I'm taking this too deeply or even too literally but it seems to me that we should be honest with how we feel.  That doesn't mean cruelly or in a hurtful way.  Nothing it more harmful than a telling the truth in order to hurt.  When someone does that they are taking away the power of the truth and instead inserting their desire for control and power.  (But we'll save the "I hate to tell you but I'm gonna anyway" post for another time!)

This is directed at ourselves and how our desire to be that which we are not (yet, meant to be or ?) by pretending.  That pretending, that falseness is what makes the lies of abuse and the silent assenter so hurtful and painful.

They wish to fake it until it is normal. 

They want to fake it until it is right.

They want to fake it until it goes away.

They want to fake it until it is okay to be false!  They want a normal that isn't.  Where they don't have to actually be responsible or acknowledge the hurt.  They want you and I  to quietly fake ourselves away.

I cannot fake it!  I won't.  It would dishonour the healing.  It would take away from the value of healing and it would say it is okay for you to have been hurt.

When I cannot be nice because I don't feel nice - I stay away from people.

When my healing is awkward for you then you should stay away from me. Don't ask me to fake it until I make it because I don't know that the end of the journey is worth skipping over the stuff in between.  In fact I'm fairly certain that missing the middle negates the experience at the end.

It feels false to put on a smile, serve tea or hug someone when inside I am screaming NO!  It isn't me needing to 'be nice for now' because of a social requirement.  Sorry folks, I won't spit on you in public but I'm not going to be your fawning fan or best friend either.

If you think I don't like you perhaps it is what you stand for that I don't like.  Maybe I'm not sure I want to be around someone who is so ready to deny their true feelings for such little truth.  Maybe I don't really know you the person but understand what you stand for and support speaks volumes! Sometimes it even shouts from the rooftops!

Don't send me threats, and don't send me offers of once you've changed you can come around again or even when you are ready to abide by my rules you know where I'm at.  I do know exactly where you are at and as long as you are there it is one place that I will not be!

I won't fake my feelings into something they are not and maybe won't ever be.

If I am hurt, I might cry.
If I am scared, I might hide away.
If I don't trust you, I won't put myself where I must trust you.
If I don't understand you, I will pray and I will try.
If I am worried, I fuss and I pray.
If I am cut, I will bleed. I will bear a scar.

Faking it takes away from our journey.  Faking it can be dangerous and it can be deadly.  It can be fun.  But not for me.  I've been burned by the fakes who finally stopped faking and it's just not worth it.  It hurts too much  when the false face falls away.  It hurts too much when they realize that they cannot fake it anymore and the truth comes out.  A truth that I've often suspected but never wanted to believe because the fake it face was so appealing.

Be honest, but don't be honest to hurt. Be honest to heal.  Show love, scatter joy and share prayers.  We are on this journey together, shouldn't we make it as genuine and special as possible?


  1. The journey is not made better by puttin on blinders and pretending that the beginning is not what it is. The middle part is messy, muddy, dirty, foul, miserable and the whole time for me I kept saying "are we there yet". But never ever would I tell anyone or allow therapist, ministers, other folks who have been abused to dictate to me how the hell I am supposed to get to the end of my journey.....I'm still not there. Nice matters but it doesn't mean beat me, bruise me, make me feel cheap.
    Hurray for you for voicing a what the??????

  2. And I must say that usually those who want us to fake it...could not or would not hold up quite so well if they walked a mile in our mocassins. Sorry for this opinion but especially ministers, pastors and all other snake oil salesmen of the world. It is like my mother used to say.....don't be ugly Linda Sybil. Well sometimes ya gotta.

  3. Thank you for both your comments Linda, and you are so right! I've been told that 'Just be nice' or "Be the bigger person."...and you are right about the middle being messy, muddy and dirty and everything else but we hold on to the journey and the destination is our own - no one else owns it because no one else is living the journey! Bless your courage to be 'ugly' sometimes!

  4. I reserve the right to be honest about what I feel and what's important to me but I also reserve the right to walk away if I don't want to pretend that I like you rather than being fake with you. If I don't want to tell you how I feel because I don't trust you, I will tell you I am fine. To the adverage person fine means you are okay. For others Fine means:
    F*cked up;
    Neuratic; and
    but most people don't know that meaning unless they have been in 12-Step meetings. Sometimes that is exactly how I feel. The time to be fake has ended for me too.

  5. Patricia! Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for sharing...

  6. This hit me hard tonight. I am at a stage in my life where I am trying to understand the difference between honesty and openness, and the degree of openness that is safe or acceptable with certain people. And, to be honest, that is leaving me feeling like a fraud. I smile, and I bleed. And that is somewhere I never wanted to be again. I'm not walking on eggshells, but I do feel as though I am carefully treading on ground that has varying amounts of broken glass covering it. At what point does consideration for a friend stop being helpful and start being wounding?
    I appreciate this post, I really do, and I know it is making me face something I need to face. So thank you, my friend.

  7. Zoe, my friend, I know what you are saying. This broken glass covered path with the differences between honesty and openness and the places where we can face danger are so hard to walk. That balance of a helpful friendship and a hurting on can be a fine one. I tread it too...Bless you and praying for you my dear...

  8. I get really confused about living that balance between maintaining a positive outlook (as much as possible) and being authentic. Because there are days when being positive comes much easier, and there are days when if I am going to be authentic, then people are going to see a very different side of me, if they see me at all.

    I struggle, as all abuse survivors struggle, with trusting people, and being in that awkward stage where we know that some of the people in our lives may not have been outright abusive, but weren't always the support we thought they were. And I don't really know what to do about them. I don't know how I feel. I guess it would depend on the day!

    So right now I am going back and forth between hiding and just barely tolerating some, but not going the whole distance of being totally honest about my pain and confusion.

    I guess you can say I'm feeling my way through it until I come up with a truth that I can stick with in the whole matter.

    What am I saying? I don't know where I am, I'm trying to be authentic but it's not always black and white. I give it my best shot and take it one day at a time.


  9. Carla, I think as long as we know in ourselves that we are being true to what and where we are then that is the most authentic thing. There is only black and white, at least that I've found, and that's okay. We are all wonderful shades of colors, including grey on those grey days.

    Hugs and bless you!