(featured image: Photo by bruce mars from Pexels) The self-worth saying: “Fake it ‘til you make it” is often doled out as advice when we’re suffering from poor self-image or a lack of self-love. Simply pretend to be happy, and happiness will follow.
But is it really possible to do this? And how exactly do you fake it ‘til you make it? Read on to find out.
Own your criticism
When people throw insults at you, they expect a reaction. It is this that feeds them and in turn, encourages them to continue criticising you.
The best way to deal with criticism, whether it’s overt or subtle, isn’t to react with anger or sadness — it’s to own it.
Make the insult your own. If someone calls you fat, say “and proud of it”. If someone calls you ugly, reply with “and it works for me”.
Even if you don’t believe it, act as though you do. This takes the wind out of your critic’s sails, and the barb loses its weight. This is part of the reason why reclaiming words is so powerful.
Insults are designed to have an impact, to affect someone’s feelings. But if there is nowhere for the barb to land, then it simply dissipates into the ether. The insulter looks foolish, and you can walk on with your head held high.
Augment faking it with real-world practices
As the aphorism implies, faking it is about pretending to feel or be something you don’t actually believe. While this has merit and goes some way towards boosting your self-worth, it’s important to augment this with some real-world actions too.
Take exercise, for instance. Ostensibly, exercise is about losing weight, getting fit, and seeing results. But simply the act of working out is a worthwhile activity in itself.
The knowledge that you are pushing yourself bolsters your efforts. Even if you don’t see results immediately, the simple act of actively bettering yourself drives you and fills you with confidence.
There are other activities you can do to bolster your self-worth and faking-it efforts too. Trying new things, such as joining a club or starting a conversation with someone new, adds fuel to your self-betterment efforts as well. Even eating healthily helps by boosting your nutrients and making you feel good about yourself naturally.
Faking it ‘til you make works. But by augmenting it with real-world activities like those mentioned above, you create a positive mindset that boosts your journey manifold.
Body confidence isn’t about what your body looks like
Despite accepted wisdom, body confidence isn’t about having a great body and being confident because of it — the confidence comes first.
Your own self-worth shines through in your body language.
If you act as though you’re not confident in your body (or what you wear), people will pick up on it, and the worst kind of people will say something about it.
The trick is to pretend you’re confident. As a consequence, you internalise your confidence so it becomes real, rather than an act
For a beautiful example of this principle at play, look no further than the Life After Birth project. Launched by underwear brand Knix, the project celebrates the bodies of women after pregnancy, complete with sag and stretch marks.
While these women don’t have the ‘accepted’ ideal body image propagated in the media, they act confident in their bodies — and it shows.
In short, fake confidence turns into real confidence. It might seem counterintuitive, but pretending turns positive self-image into a reality.
Have faith in your ideas
During meetings at work, many of us shy away from speaking up. Fear of being mocked or shouted down prevents us from sharing our opinions.
But think about how many times you’ve heard someone chime in with a terrible idea, only for it to be picked up and discussed.
Even the most outlandish ideas can be made palatable by delivering them with confidence. You are your own worst critic, and the only person criticising your input is yourself.
This self-fulfilling prophecy paralyses you into inaction. Have faith in your ideas and, if you can’t do this, simply pretend to have faith.
Achieve this by simply speaking confidently. Practice techniques to avoid stuttering, speak loudly and firmly, and talk over people if they try to interrupt you before you’re finished.
If someone does offer a genuine criticism to your comment, nod and acknowledge that it’s a fair point, thanking them for their input. Simple techniques like this show that you own the conversation and lend your ideas legitimacy — even if you don’t actually believe it yourself.
The self-worth advice: “Fake it ‘til you make it” is a worthwhile strategy for improving yourself. But it takes time and effort to do so. Follow the tips above and keep at it, and with time, you’ll feel the difference.