Best Advice Ever? Fake It Till You Make It

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Deep thoughts on Tuesday anyone?

We’ve all heard of self-fulfilling prophecies.

Whether you’ve pondered the prose in The Celestine Prophecy, or tired your best to look at the glass half full, there’s something to be said about focussing on the positives and reaching your goals.

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After posting a series of stories outlining my negative self-image, lack of self-esteem, and overall negativity in my young adult years, I received some interesting feedback.

MORE: 5 Reasons You Should Be Glad I Didn’t Blog In My Twenties

When writing about my 20 year high school reunion, and recalling how I’ve changed (for the better) since those awkward teen years, an old high school pal sent me the following private message.

“It is so interesting to see different perspectives of peer groups in high school. I never would have thought of you having low self esteem or feelings of unpopularity! I remember being envious of your fun nature and friend group! I would’ve loved to have had the bravery of letting loose and having fun! I never attended a high school party outside of my closest friend’s party. I always felt so “square.” Interesting to see how my vision of you in school was so opposite as to how you felt.”

Seriously? I had them all fooled?

After receiving this note, I couldn’t help but think how hard I’ve been faking it — for years!

MORE: An Open Letter To My 20-Year-Old Self

After transferring from a small Catholic school to the biggest high school in my hometown, I knew only a handful of people. And let’s just say, making friendships and getting invited to parties were my top priorities.

It was shaky ground, let me tell you. If I didn’t get to my friend’s locker in time immediately following the bell for lunch, I would almost go into a full-on panic attack.

Will I be alone all lunch break? Just walk around the halls and look busy.

I did develop friendships – and lord knows I attended a party or two – but I was faking my confidence every step of the way.

And I can’t help but wonder…has this been the key to my success in life thus far?

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Some evidence of my fake/forced confidence over the years:

  • In high school I would somehow squirm my way into one peer group at a time — smiling and nodding as much as possible;
  • In University, I got involved with extra-curricular groups to appear smart, involved and mature;
  • The night I met my husband in a bar, I walked up to him and shook his hand because I liked his smile;
  • When I had my first baby and attended every/all mommy group meetings, I would do everything in my power to appear bathed, relaxed and confident in my mothering skills;
  • At my son’s school, I try to appear ‘together’ and pretend I’m crafty and keep a clean house;
  • When I entered the workforce after receiving my degrees, I attended all meetings (before and after work) to appear as much of a team player as possible.

Not bad, if I do say so myself!

What do you think? Is ‘fake it till you make it’ good advice for our teens? How about for adults?

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