Have you ever started to feel down about something, and you started to vent about it to someone, then they say, “Fake it until you make it.” For some people, this may be some great advice. In fact, it may be the best advice they’ve ever received. But, what about those people who crave something more meaningful. A lot of people give advice that’s tailored to around their personality and what they might do. People tend to not help or support other people according to their wants and needs.
“Fake it until you make it” is one of the worst advices I have ever received. I hate this advice because it’s false positivity. This is basically saying dismiss what you’re truly feeling, conceal all your emotions, and cover up what’s really going on with you. I understand that the saying is supposed to shed some positive light on a situation because if you think and act more positive then change will come, but what if someone is depressed and not just sad? What if someone have anxiety and isn’t just overwhelmed at the moment? False positivity isn’t going to help them.
So, what does work if someone needs advice and you can’t tell which mindset they’re in? First, always listen to what they’re saying. Try not to interrupt and give them your full, undivided attention. People usually reveal how they want to be supported in their time of need if just listen to them. Sometimes, you’ll have to read between the lines, but they’ll reveal it somehow. They’ll reveal it by using silence, sometimes someone just wants sympathy (and that’s not always a bad thing), they’ll want someone to show some compassion towards them, or someone to just empathize with them. Also, not everything needs a response. A listening ear and a hug are louder than words.
Having this “fake it until you make it” persona could help hide the fact that your struggling, prevent you from getting the help and support that you need, and prevent you from allowing yourself to feel what you actually feel. This kind of behavior breeds stigma because we should be encouraging people to talk about anything. There is power and strength in vulnerability. I feel like you should only engage in false positivity talk, when you’re trying to change on the inside and distance yourself from negative self-talk.