Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mantras : Fake it 'til you Make it

Warning: This is a text heavy post. If you just want jewelry photos or info, please check back in a few days...  :)

source: Google images

I recently found Rosie Molinary's excellent blog, and I've been reading it nonstop. When I find a new blog, I am voracious - I read the newest post (or whatever post brought me there from a link) and I go back to the beginning of the blog's time. I read it all. Thank goodness I have an iPad or I'd be trapped in front of the computer for weeks on end.  :)

Anyway, in one of her posts (which of course I can't find now, or I'd link to it) she briefly talks about mantras. And it made me think about my own mantras. I've had one or more over the years since I was about fourteen. I thought sharing them with you might be inspiring.

As far back as I can remember, I was a very, very, very shy girl. I don't know exactly where this came from but I can't remember a time in my young life - I mean as far back as say, age five - when I wasn't shy. Human interaction was frightening to me. I didn't want anyone to look at me or talk to me. I tried to be invisible. And being thrown into situations (such as a new high school - I didn't attend the same high school that my grade school classmates did, so I began high school not knowing a single person) was highly traumatic. My first year of high school was nearly intolerable. I crept around like a shadow. I would stare only at the ground as I walked to and from class, to and from lunch, to and from my locker...you get the idea.

For some reason, another freshman girl took pity on me and made it her personal campaign to tell me to "Raise your head, Jill" every time she saw me in the hallways. This girl was beautiful, popular, smart - and I don't know why, but something made her notice me. By the end of my freshman year I was at least looking up on a regular basis, though it would be years before I could walk around and look people in the eye. I developed a survival (though likely quite off-putting) method of staring right past people so I didn't have to make eye contact. You can imagine how few friends I made that year!

Fast-forward to the end of my sophomore year. I did develop some friendships during that time,
and I cherished them. But I was still isolated and felt left out of the "fun" parts of high school. During summer break, I told myself that if I wanted things to change, I would have to change them. *I* would have to be the one to approach others, try new things, and be more open. It was, at the time, the scariest decision I'd ever made. But also the most rewarding. Though I didn't articulate it to myself then, this was the beginning of the first mantra:  "Fake it 'til you make it". That phrase carried me through the next twenty-five years or so.

"Fake it 'til you make it" meant nothing about being fake in the sense of lying to other people. It meant pretending a confidence that I wasn't even close to feeling - I was still so terribly scared of interacting with others. But something in me longed for more contact, more emotional sustenance, more humanity in my life. So I reached out to others, I worked on being a more open person, I joined new clubs and interacted more than I ever had before. And by the time I graduated two years later, the rewards were substantial. I would never say that I was popular, and that wasn't even my goal, but I had a solid circle of friends and a much bigger and deeper connection with the outside world.

And it continued to work after high school, of course. It powered me through parties, new jobs, interviews, happy hours, travel, life decisions - any situation that involved meeting and interacting with new people - for a really long time. It's only been in recent years that I've not felt a need for it anymore. It's like I've built a muscle memory and now when what used to be an emotionally scary situation looms, I can plunge forward with it and not feel the pit of worry in my stomach. I actually enjoy those situations I used to dread (good thing, for a girl who now meets new people at art show on a regular basis!).

*One caveat - Fake it 'til you make it only works if you really, truly want to become what you are faking. I am not talking about pretending to be something / someone you're not to impress others...this is all about *you* and not a damn bit about what anyone else thinks. Otherwise it's a mantra that isn't authentically true and will ultimately won't help you change what you want to change.

Once I finally felt comfortable being more outgoing, I developed a new mantra for my life. I'll tell you all about it in another post...


  1. Fantastic post, we can get pass the no pictures of jewelry part I am sure especially since you shared such a great site with us, yes I do believe in the mantra philosophy as well. Now my mantra are probably a little strange to some, 1) If you are going through H*** just keep on going sooner or later you will get through it, 2)Bull**** is optional I choose the option to deal with what I want and to throw away what I do not want to deal with. They work for me, keep my life just a little bit more sane!

  2. Thanks Nancy. It is hard to put myself out there so personally but I am willing to do it if it helps anyone else. :)

    I hear you on the "just keep on going" - some days it's one foot in front of the other and that's all you can do. Sanity sometimes feels like it's optional but we just have to keep moving forward.

  3. Jill this mantra is similar to one I use...when I can remember... It takes me much focus to..."act as if'. because I sometimes get caught up in running negative thoughts...stewing too long over something ...mainly with family...I have had success breaking out of it by "acting as if"...

    last year my as if's were...my husband and I are happily married...it broke the cycle of me always acting angry and annoyed with him.

    presently my "act as if" my middle son and I have a close and loving relationship...He and I are similar in personality...and sometimes it has been difficult. But when I can "act as if'...I no longer have to be right...I can just love him and not react to every action.

    Thank you for writing such a thought provoking post...it was just the reminder I needed today. I am so happy to have found your blog.