‘Fake it til you make it’, this expression always struck me as being quite cynical and uninspiring. But, that all changed a few months ago when I met a client who opened my eyes to the power of positive thinking. This lady had many reasons to be angry and bitter. As she told me her story, I found myself pitying her. Her husband had died a few years before and she was battling crippling arthritis. However, I soon noticed that the sympathy I was feeling, was neither appreciated or needed. I couldn’t help myself enquire about the source of her upbeat attitude. She told me that focusing on the bad stuff just made her miserable, so she always tried to smile and think positive thoughts instead.
I never met this lady again, but she will always stick in mind. After speaking to her I finally realised what 'Faking it til you make it' could mean for myself and many others. Rather than lacking aspiration, it actually held a lot of hope and is a way of encouraging people to look at the good stuff in their lives, afterall it's hard to feel motivated when you are focused on the gloomy. If you smile enough, if you try to think positively, you could turn the cynism into something more hopeful. Those occasional fake smiles when you feel like frowning, will eventually become real. In the words of the Dalai Lama "Choose to be optimistic, it feels better."
For all the good intentions, changing your mindset it not easy, afterall it often seems we have an innate inclination to see the worst in ourselves, but just try to smile more and frown less and see what happens.
Perhaps the above sounds totally elusive, but don’t worry! If you consciously take some of the steps below, you're well on your way to ‘making it’.
- Act confident. Start acting confident even if you aren't, it's rough to start, but remember you are brilliant.
- Make peace with your body. It's important to always eat well and exercise if you can, but no matter what your size or health, remember you deserve respect and it is what’s inside that counts.
- Buy clothes that fit. Don’t wait until you’ve arrived at an ideal dress size to start dressing your best.
- Keep laughing. Laughing releases feel good chemicals called endorphins. You don’t have to belly laugh constantly, but try to surround yourself by a little good humour every day. A smile or a laugh can go a long way.
- Stay busy. You need rest and relaxation time, but don’t use this time to overanalyze difficult situations. Instead focus on the good stuff that's happened to you.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Everyone deserves a support network, whether that is family, friends or simply talking to a counsellor. Don’t be too proud to admit when you need a someone to lean on.
You don’t have to follow all of these tips. No one feels confident and happy 100% of the time, but these are steps you can start taking to feel better about yourself. And I guarantee you the better you feel about yourself, the better your life will be.