This quote is one you’ve likely heard before; however, many are confused whether to follow or believe this advice. Often times, we associate the word “fake” with being inauthentic, and when we think of inauthenticity, we run the other direction thus staying stuck in the beliefs and actions that we are trying to change.
But what if “faking it” meant something completely different? What if it meant “acting as though” or “acting as if”. You see, many times throughout the day we already act as if. For example, when we drive to work, we act as if we are going to make it there. We are thinking about the day, playing through situations, prepping our minds for the daily tasks. We act as if we are going to the gym by prepping a bag of gym clothes and mentally preparing in our head to go over lunch break. When you act as if you are going to make it to work, you are believing that it is going to happen. When you act as if you are a fit or in shape person, you are believing that you are and more likely to then have the behaviors of someone who is fit or in shape.
In the therapy world, it’s important to note two topics in relation to this phrase:
Clinically, I would agree with the concepts of both but combine them to become one theory.
From the Law of Attraction, I believe it is true that we start seeing what we look for. If my thoughts about myself are completely negative, then the likelihood of seeing positive things about myself or accepting a compliment gracefully is slim.
However, if you are seeking positive things about yourself, then you will begin to see more things about yourself that are positive. With my clients and within myself, I have seen the rewards of looking for the good from a gratitude perspective and how that changes our thoughts in general and brain patterns. If it were really true that we could simply think positively and then experience something positive, then my job would be replaced by self-experts. It may be a part of the solution, but I don’t believe it’s all of it.
Imagine combining Law of Attraction with Acting As If.
In order to follow James’ philosophy, ask yourself “What would this type of person be doing?” In sticking with the confident example, what would a confident person be doing or thinking or saying? Likely, a confident person would say “Thank you” after being complimented or trust instincts to make decisions.
If you call yourself “fat” or “lazy”, how is that helping you become in shape or healthy? You’re likely unmotivated and depressed and not doing any actions that help you become this type of person. However, if you ask yourself, “What do healthy people do?” and answer “Some type of movement like walk during lunch” and “Limit fast food”, then the moment you do either of those behaviors you have then shown your brain that you are a “healthy person”. Then, your thoughts become more aligned and helpful which increases your likelihood of having behaviors that help you live according to your values.
Act as if you already are and you will think like you’ve already become.