The Power of Pretending

You’re frightened. You’ve never done this before. You’ve put yourself out there, raised your hand, volunteered to do this thing in faith, hoping to God you can just make it out alive. You walk onto the stage, blinded by the light, all eyes are on you. You freeze for a moment.

Your mind is racing, reviewing hundreds of thoughts in a second. Your heart is racing, like it’s going to explode any second. Then you remember why you opted to do this in the first place. You need to do this, so to get to the other side of this, you pretend.

You pretend, act like you’re someone else for whom this would be no big deal. In that moment you channel the person you admire, who would pull this off without a second thought.

Essentially you become that person, like an actor in a play, in a television show or in the movies, and you keep going.

Nearing the end of your assignment, you’re starting to second guess. Did anyone buy this? Does the whole world know that I’m scared to death and I totally just made a fool of myself in front of all these people?

As you deliver your final lines, your inner voices are taunting you, telling yourself you are a fake, a phony, you just made a complete fool of yourself in front of all these people, and your life is ruined.

Then you come to uttering the final syllable, and there is silence; for a second that seems to take hours, then you hear the roaring applause as you exit the stage. Once you’re safely back stage, you reach up, make a fist and quickly pull it down to your gut and quietly but confidently say, “Yes!”

Pretending is a powerful weapon in your life’s arsenal.

There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from conquering your fears. All you need is a good reason and the willingness to do what it takes to make it happen. If the going gets rough, you feel like you just can’t do it, and you are ready to call it quits, pretend you’re someone else with all the qualities, talents and confidence to do this thing. And do it.

Once you’ve done it… you’ve done it.

As a young man, this pretty much describes my day, every day. And it didn’t stop there. I became courageous, overcoming insurmountable odds, and if I ever found myself in a frightening situation, feeling powerless and insignificant, I pretended I was someone else who clearly would have the ability to handle this situation, and I did it.

So, once you’ve done it, now what?

Put yourself in a position to do it again, and again, and again, and before long, congratulate yourself because now you are a pro. Celebrate your win and prepare to win again, because you know you can do anything if you can play-act when necessary, through whatever you need to get you from here to there.

Some refer to this kind of pretending as, “fake it til you make it,” while in more therapeutic circles we refer to this as, “modeling.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s all just play-acting, pretending you’re someone else so you can get through it. Then keep doing it until these more confident and powerful attributes become a part of you.

People, who know me today, could never imagine the person I was before. And I’ll tell you this; you might not recognize me tomorrow.

I am on a path of changing, adapting to change, personal growth and empowering others to do the same, ever since I can remember. In the beginning, no one taught me this. All I knew was that if I wanted to survive in this world, I had to act like I could handle it, just so I could do whatever needed to be done to survive. That’s all I knew.

For me, it was lie or die.

And the more I did it, the more courageous I became.

Sure, I was still that frightened little boy inside, but I could do things in such a way that nobody ever knew.

All that to say,

When you feel like you can’t do it, pretend you can, and do it anyway.

You will be surprised to discover that it works for pretty much anything from nailing a job interview to falling in love. What?

Yeah, I knew I’d get you on the love piece, because nowadays, when people feel as though they’re not feeling the love (attraction or lust) for their partner that they once did, they just throw in the towel and find a new drug (love).

So, what if you’re in a relationship that seems to have run cold.

Pretend. Pretend he or she is the love of your life. Act like you’re in love, doing all the things and saying all the things that you would if you were deeply in love.

You know what happens next. The more you do it, the more you become it, and before you know it, you’re more in love than you’ve ever been.

Plus, look at all the grief, embarrassment, strife and money you’ve saved.

You get the idea… and it works for anything.

That’s the power of pretending.

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