I’ve always hated the phrase “Fake It Till You Make It.”
I like to think of myself as an honest person. Or at least as someone who tries to be. I fail more than I’d like to admit, but I think that on balance I’m more truthful than not. Unless that’s just a lie I’m telling myself… anyway…
This is why the phrase “Fake It Till You Make It” bugs me so much. The last thing I need is to be lying to myself.
The fucked up thing is that it works! Our actions (the faking of it) create the desire to take more action, lather rinse repeat (Till) , which can (not always, but often) bring us to the desired result (the making of it.)
There are better ways to state it (“Bring your body and your mind will follow” comes to mind), but the principle is sound.
Still didn’t like it. Still felt inauthentic, and my identity wouldn’t allow me to feel inauthentic.
But… after reading this article by Mark Manson, some kind of light came on. I connected the idea of identity (which I have read about before but Mark’s motherfucking F-bombs always seem to get through to me), with the idea of Mini Habits (shout out to Stephen Guise and his literally life changing book), and another idea that I’m sure isn’t original but bubbled up to my (not very often) conscious mind:
We are what we are thinking, feeling, and doing right now.
Mark mentions the Buddhist idea of Anatta in his article, often translated as “no-self.” I’ve always liked that idea, but not for the healthiest of reasons.
I hated myself, so the idea that this thing that I called me didn’t really exist was pretty damn appealing. Unfortunately this self that I loathed sure seemed real – it stalked me all day and all night. Every waking hour it was there, reminding me of what a piece of shit that I was.
Someone once asked me why I was so into personal development. Here’s the answer:
I told myself consciously that I was doing it to become a better person. Unconsciously, I think it was because I was trying to kill the enemy – me – without ending my own life. There were times that I did try the suicide thing. I don’t recommend it, except in extreme cases, with the assistance and approval of others. I had neither.
Then (read, years and years later), I learned that Anatta can be translated as “no-permanent-self.”
Hmmmm… that’s interesting. This links it up with another idea from Buddhism – Anicca, which means impermanence. This allows for the very real experience of a self, but recognizes the fact that everything changes. All the time. Everything.
And I’m part of everything.
I’m changing. All the time. Every second of every day.
And if this “I” is constantly changing, I’m hating something that doesn’t exist anymore. By the time I notice it, it’s already gone.
Therefore ergo incognito summa cum laude, it’s only what I’m doing, thinking, and feeling right now that “I” am.
And the conditions of my life are as they are because of the actions, thoughts, and feelings that my past lives participated in (Yay for a secular understanding of Karma and Rebirth!)
Combine this with the Mini Habits concept (stupid small actions instead of big dramatic changes) – and you’ve got a great way to neutralize that karma you’ve created for yourself in your past lives – the ones that you lived just moments ago.
So let’s not fake it. You can’t anyway. You were what you were. You are what you are.
Let’s be what we want to be, right here, right now. Don’t expect instant changes (you’ve still got all of that past karma to burn off, remember?), but one small change, repeated over time, can make all of the difference.