What Faking it Til You Make It Really Means
You know that you have to rise to the occasion, that you really should face a problem, a person. And your therapist and everyone else is saying that you have to Just Do It.
But how can you just do it if you've never done it and you're afraid you'll look like an idiot if you do?
The classic example is making the call. Say someone owes you money. It's your employer. And you know he knows that he owes you money. But he's been getting away with it because you haven't been able to confront him on it.
So your therapist says, Just get on the phone and don't confront. No need to be angry.
Just assert, meaning explain the facts nicely and reiterate that you haven't been paid yet.
Then nag. (My spin on this intervention). Keep calling. Call every day until you're paid, perhaps twice a day, until someone in management says, "Would someone kindly get this guy off my back? Just PAY him!"
This is still very hard, even doing it without anger, for many people. It's still hard to pick up the phone, and especially hard to do it every day, to become a nag.
I'll say, try to make it like you're just repeating facts, like you're reciting multiplication tables. Rote, no emotion. But to you, bringing forward the facts feels impossible. You're a little shy. You don't like asserting. So how do you fake it 'til you make it THEN?
It's not easy, but I think you have to make it fun. You have to raise the serotonin in your brain by seeing this as play, not work. And the way to do that is finding the other you, the other person inside (you have MANY you hardly even KNOW). The one who can do it.
People like to focus on the people inside that they're more familiar with, the ones with the faults and deficits their parents introduced to them as children (yeah, I get to bashing parents sometimes, as unpoplar as that is; this is one of those times).
But there is a person inside who is probably very angry at the self for not asserting, and angry at the other person for taking advantage of the person who doesn't assert. This other self is someone we can call The Advocate.
Or the Hero. This person wants justice in the worst way. This person isn't known as you, not yet, since no one, not even you, has ever heard from him except in fantasies. But this advocate resides in the wish department of everyone's psyche. The advocate, the hero, really wants you to be that person who opens up that mouth and gets you what you want.
You also want to get to know the actor. Yes, another one of the people in us who occasionally gets trotted out to play, but not nearly often enough. There's a potential actor in everyone, and this actor needs attention. You have to let the actor flex a few muscles now and again. You need the actor here to help the hero do her stuff.
This ISN'T faking it. These are real selves tucked in your brain.
Think of any movie, any television show with a leading character who tells it like it is even if no one wants to hear it. Someone like Marie, on Everyone Loves Raymond. (A whole post in and of itself, right?) Or think of ANYONE else who asserts that you can relate to, especially if that person makes you laugh. You want to act like that person. Keep that person in front of you.
We all have a little Homer inside of us. (Maybe not the best example). Act like your role model would act in the situation. Pretend to be righteously indignant. Deserving.
Larry David, on Curb Your Enthusiasm is a good example. He's always asserting himself, but to a fault. He would return a torn shoe that he wore for 11 months and 28 days to Nordstrom. If you try to be like Larry you'll fall short, most definitely, of being as obnoxious as he is. You're not made of the stuff of cringe.
If you try, however, to be indignant, you'll be heard.
You don't have to be a Martin Luther King, a holy man. But we can say he inspired the idea. It was his birthday this week, and you observed it, right, so you maybe can learn from him. Have a dream. Make it so.
Once you feel a little righteous indignation, the next step is to bring out the hero and behave as righteously indignant. There is nothing to lose here.
You say, "Hey, I think you forgot to pay me for those six hours that I worked on Thursday doing inventory. When do you think you'll get to that, anyway?"
And when you do that, do you know what that other person is thinking, feeling?
Way to go. You just brought out The Cop. You'll make a great parent.
copyright 2008, therapydoc