I still remember that I was the smartest kid in my class. I was the one to complete the worksheets first, ask for more work and was just driven to know things. One day…this stopped. I stopped asking for worksheets, I stopped being the first, I stopped helping others understand a problem. I forced myself on the same mental knowledge level as my classmates, because I learned the hard way that nobody likes people who are better than them, and always rub it under your nose by being happy about it.
She said she would try to kill herself. And hopefully die.
She had a brilliant life. Even though it was a lie– by Nina NN
Focus on yourself. Don’t get lost in other people.
“Fake it till you make it.” How often have I heard this quote come out of mouths who never even need to fake anything. Yes, in some life situations this advice is true. For example, if you have to make a speech and you are nervous. But putting this principle upon your whole identity and life, isn’t the way. It’ll just make you act a certain way you are not, and you’ll turn more and more insecure about your true identity that you will lose at some point, or you never even had it.
By “faking it” I mean being someone who unconsciously does and acts the way other people expect them to act. I developed a personality, that really wasn’t mine; only a façade of protect. I developed a fake me and forget the real me. I had to learn that that isn’t something bad. I had to rather learn to live with it than getting rid of it. This phase comes from the “birth paradigms” in my case. I felt frustrated. And alone. Like everyone around me was living their life just I had to fake everything to fit in. It’s exhausting. Even if it’s just a simple thing such as always having to act happy around a certain friend group. You already are with one foot in this phase.
You probably are someone who:
- wants to stop faking it because:
- you just exhausted from LIVING THIS KIND OF LIFE and you are just mentally crushed
- You want to quit but don’t know how
- You want to quit but are scared WHO YOU WILL BE after doing it
- Is exhausted from faking it:
- You act the way you think people want you to act
- You want everyone to have a certain persona of you in their heads
- You do things you don’t really enjoy doing
- You don’t speak up or speak up all the time
- You don’t show when you are upset
- You push away your own opinion way to often
- You seek safety in life
- You live in fear
You are not responsible for other people’s feelings!
I’m glad you are here. The step of noticing that you are faking everything is not what everyone manages. Allot of people live their life like this and completely forget themselves and who they truly are. Including me at one point at life. They get to be personas they unintentionally create and suffer in their own mental bubble their entire life, while feeling way too much out there at the same time. At the end no phase is “bad” or “good”. Its only society that tells us this.
It doesn’t matter how deep you have fallen into the lion’s den; it matters that you are inside it, and if you want to get out!
What I want to say by this is, that stop making excuses such as “my friends need me” or “I will disappoint that person if I quit faking” Either you want to stop faking at life, or you want to continue. If you are scared of who you will be, if you do it, I tell you: another phase. Another layer. So, peal of this one, so you can move forward. For this phase I’m here to tell you HOW to let down your wall and put yourself out there, without forcing it like everyone suggests. I am not here to be one of those people who shout take action or “you’ll have an advantage of a lot of people if you break down -the wall of faking- yourself. Overcome the angst. Doing unconfutable things makes us grow. The more we do something unconfutable, the more we get access to our minds”; for the millionth time, letting you sit right there, thinking “but it’s complicated” and “I want to but….”. Yes, in some life situations this advice is true; maybe even for this one. But if you heard it a billion times, you won’t change anything. When you understood this, you can be relieved. No pressure. It’s totally okay to not forcing change. I tell you something:
To understand yourself better, I give you a challenge that might be too hard for the beginning: Think about when and how you got into this life phase! This is a mine field for probably allot of us. Especially for you and me. I for my part had this chapter of life at a very young age:
It began back then, when I didn’t even know the meaning of mental health. I was a very stubborn child. The class clown. The ego sucker. I did what I wanted and said what I said. It got me into allot of trouble. In a way It was a protection shield from my insecure side. I never let it show. I never let anyone see what a small and fragile child I was. I never did it on purpose. Kids, like me, never do. Thus, I still did it. I was scared of the world, scared of people, scared of rawness. Everyone was so different, and I didn’t understand why, so I protected myself from them. I was called weird, and nobody wanted anything to do with me, but on the other hand I wasn’t bullied. I was just the annoying child. The reactions I got from my behaviour probably made me the person who I am now. I always had a way of protecting myself. I never thought about where it came from, but it was there! I was good at it. Pretty good at it. So good, I even fooled my family sometimes. Nowadays they sometimes say, “we want the old Nina back!” Then I just stay silent and think to myself that I hope that'll never happen again. I never ever want to go back to that clown-like state of mind. I was known for singing in class, for saying everything I thought and discussing. I was known for having willpower. But it never was really me. Under it was just a child who just wanted to sit in a corner and cry. Now I realize though, that the world didn't break me. I broke myself. But that’s okay. Sometimes you unconsciously don’t know how to do it differently. There was no way around breaking myself. Either have a protection shield or not. In both ways I got hurt.
You see, one day I cracked. When I would have read this a that time, I wouldn’t have believed that. But I did. My walls feel down, and I ended in a huge identity crisis phase + depression.
I congratulate myself and you on faking it for this long. For keeping up. When I cracked, I went through that wall and stepped into a new set of minds I never will regret that! Well, I did in my depressive phase, but when that was nearly over too…I didn’t anymore.
The only advice I can give you is go for it. Let it consume you! Be that what you are feeling. Find yourself.
You are the only person who’s like you and that’s an advantage. Allowing myself to break for the first time was a huge mental process, and with that I was ahead of allot of other people. I let myself go and put myself into the unconfines of not knowing who I will be or who I am.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”.– by Albert Einstein
Step by Step instructions on how I stopped faking my personality:
Step 1: I admitted that I didn’t know who I really was under my protection layer
WHAT IS THE TRUTH? WHO AM I? I won’t advice you to create your own persona and write down what you wish you would be; it made me more insecure when I didn’t get to be the person, that I wanted to be.
It doesn’t matter who you truly are at the moment. This thought of wanting to know is only holding you back from figuring it out.
I remember the time where I fell in-love with a boy in my class. I really, really liked him. Back then I thought he was my big true love. But he didn’t like me back. But I didn’t lose hope. I so badly wanted him to really see through me for who I was. So, I was okay with watching him fall in-love with another girl, get together with her and be with her. I wanted him to be happy. Even when my tiny heart broke a trillion times, and I grew more and more insecure. The day, I got told that he and his girlfriend split up, I was the one there for him. I was the one talking to him and trying to understand him. But he still didn’t care about my efforts. It meant so much to me do something for someone and truly wanting to do it. I wanted him to be the person to see me, truly. But he didn’t try. He never did. Normal boys don’t fall in love with this side of me. But they also don’t fall in love with the venerable side of me. I asked myself to allot what was wrong with me, and why he just didn’t come to like me. In my most heartless and pure moment, I even made him a present. I was such an innocent child. My dad watched me being truly excited and happy while I wrote him a letter, made him a CD with my favourite music on it, printed out a few baby pictures of myself and gave him my most expensive necklaces and chains I got for Christmas. I still remember the days I gave everything to him. We both sat on the grass, and I was handing him the presents. I was nervous. I knew I was going to get disappointed, but I didn’t care. I wanted him to see me, truly. He unpacked everything and assured me he loved it. While he thanked me, and explained to me that he accepted everything, thus we will never be anything more than classmates, he spoke to me in a way, like he was an adult, trying to tell his child it won't get chocolate without trying to hurt its feelings. I made him promise me to not laugh about me with his friends, and to not show the baby pictures of me to anyone. I wasn’t embarrassed. I was scared. Then he left, and I did too. At first, I was sad. But then I grew happy again because I got one thing: He cared about not hurting my feelings. From that day on I learned, that if someone puts on a certain tone in their voice, I am acting babyish and not age-like. It meant that I did or had an such innocent thought again and didn’t notice the reality. I tried to overplay everything, but it was hard for me acting strong when I felt alone. I even made my dad arrange a playdate with his mom. We spent a day together at his house, doing all kind of silly stuff. That day I forgot everything around me, and just did. I didn’t think. He never really left me. We were never together. But for me, that one day felt like I lost the battle. I sat at the playground, alone, like always watching him approach me. A flicker of hope went through me as I saw him wanting to spent time with me, even when he had his other friends. But he only needed someone to help him study. He knew exactly that I liked him; and for that cause, I wouldn’t say no. I did what he asked me and helped him. I felt like he was using me. He took it a step to far. Never try to use me. I never understood people who actively think “oh, let's use that person to get something.” It makes you less in my eyes. The only time I use people, I do it unconsciously. I don’t think it actively. A few hours later, when I was finished with my class, I saw him on the hallway. I asked him how the test was, and he just said to me that the test didn’t take place, like it was nothing. It was my final straw. For me, it meant allot helping him, even if I didn’t want to. For him, it meant nothing. From that day on, I stopped doing things that I didn’t want to do for others. I stopped being the nice person. Yes, I still faked it, but I didn’t fake generosity. I set the paradigm into my head, that I am not the type of person someone falls in love with. I still think that today. He was my final step forward to unlocking my journey. I hate and love him for it.
Step 2: I punished myself for not taking responsibility for my behaviour
This one sounds weird, I know. And it sounds…just wrong. But I didn’t take on responsibility just jet. I needed to KNOW that I was not taking responsibility, and maybe I even sabotaged my brain for it.
This step was and is a minefield, because you can get stuck really quickly, grow more insecure or develop bad habits. It’s important that you don’t grow to hate yourself!
I didn’t punish myself by not letting myself have something I wanted or needed. I was way too greedy for that!
By punish I mean: TALKING TO MYSELF
The first step of this step was to tell myself actively, that that what I just did, or what I was faking, was wrong. Even if it wasn’t, I told myself that. The key is to Be aware of how you are acting. I didn’t rush by taking Action already, no…the first step was being aware. I mean the SMALL details aware this time. The “I just again laughed at some joke that wasn’t funny” aware.
REMINDER: If you fake it, or if you don’t, some people always won’t accept you. So at least do it the way it benefits your growth. Even if others break your multiple times on the way. Nobody said life would be easy…
“The truth is, we don’t have control over whether people like us or not. The only thing we have control over is how fully we show up.
WORK: Analyse your behaviour
This step is to Write down what you did think about in Step 2. I mean the occasions that appear when you take notice at the small things you do or say or act out each day.
Write everything down for 3 weeks, and analyse it with the following method:
IMPORTANT Interruption: Don’t try to rush anything. It’s okay to work on a step for 3-5 weeks without having the feeling of taking action. Don’t be too much driven. You don’t have to write down every single thing. Do not get to the point where you throw yourself into this task to much, so write it down ONLY at the end of the day. Like this you only have written down the important occasions you remember. It’s okay when you have nothing at all to write down on some days and allot to write down on other days. Commitment is still there; doesn’t matter how hard you try or how little effort you make.
At the end of the week read everything. Track down your own behaviour and analyse it, by seeing if the things you did where:
- Forced intentionally to act a certain way
- Neglecting and pushing away a certain feeling you have, or thing you want to do or say
- Natural instincts you have developed to act a certain way, without thinking about that you don’t really mean it or want to do it
- Insecure impulsive behaviours of the you, that doesn’t exist jet
I for my part just told you, that I am a person who doesn’t enjoy doing things for other people, If I don’t come up with the idea, or want too naturally. Being kind and generous doesn’t give me a feeling of warmth or joy if I don’t want to do it, since my first “deeper” love I ever had. I unconsciously trained myself to do things people expect of me because if I would not, society would even more exclude me.
Mark these 3 different occasions on your journal in three different colours and see which one overweighs. Like this you can see, where your desire to “faking it” actually comes from intentionally. Now you know at what stage you are in and can work with it.
WORK: Do something that is out of your “faking-persona’s” comfort zone by putting yourself first
The first step to releasing yourself from approval-seeking is to start your own reality
Try to sit down and look at the things you wrote down in step 3. What would be the opposite of it, or even something totally different?
- Go to a person who is sitting alone.
Don’t go there with any intention; (like making them your best friend.) Just go there to say hi, or because you don’t know what to do. Tell them this. Even if your voice is shaky and you think you’ll come over as weird or clumsy.
Go there to break out of your bubble. Go there to connect with a new set of eyes and a different mind. With this person, (who you don’t know and doesn’t know you): Start new. Don’t act strong or confident. Act like the way that unconfutable feeling is telling you. Maybe You’ll act insecure, maybe you’ll act quiet or all-over-the place. But when you leave, you can be proud of yourself, that you didn’t “fake it” with someone you didn’t know, for the first time.
If you are scared of this task, I tell you this:
Life Goes fast. One day you’ll sit in your room and not even remember that day anymore. It will be an experience that made you grow and sit in that room. At the end nobody cares. So just do it! The feeling will be over afterwards! For the first time you’ll reward yourself by doing something unexpected. ONLY FOR YOU!
From there on, do more and more things like this. Examples:
- Say no in a situation where you feel like it.
You will be disliked. And that’s okay. Not everyone has the value to take a “no” not as an insult, but as a boundary. For this, first start saying no in situations you think it’s okay to say no…and then gradually start saying no to people you usually say yes too
- Do something you liked a long time ago.
For example, watch “Winnie the Pooh” with your mom or dad, or let them read a bed-time story to you
- Let go of someone who is holding you back!
This is a big one. But it’s important. If there is anyone who makes you feel unconfutable, or that talk behind your back…tell them your opinion or let them know through someone else. Do it in a respective way, without letting to many people get involved into it. If you are scared that you will be alone if you say that person your opinion, then just think about it:
Being alone is something not very many people can handle. If you want to be strong and independent, you have to learn to be alone. Feeling alone is just having the feeling that nobody cares. People start caring when it’s too late. So don’t bother. You are only lonely if you want to be and tell yourself that. You are alone if you stay true to yourself and begin to enjoy your own company.
- Have an affirmation journal
Here you write down what you and others like about yourself. Allways have it with you and when you feel insecure, look at it. This way you won’t grow too much insecure during the process and start caring for yourself more. You’ll keep certain characterisations of yourself you enjoy, that have nothing to do with your phase. Have different sections.
1. physical aspects
2. Mental aspects
- Have a normal journal
Everyone needs their way of being true to themselves sometimes. You can’t stay stubborn forever. Having a journal will make you focus more on the real aspects of life. Yes, you are distracted. You Arnt focusing on that what truly matters. Don’t come back to the place you used to be. Explore a new one. Here are some journaling ideas:
- Write a letter to your future self
- Write a letter to your child-self
- Write down things you would do if you weren’t scared
- Write down things that make you calm down
- Checklists and goals
- Do something alone
Try to prepare yourself for the future, by being alone. Visit the ocean. Go to the cinema or watch a movie. Make yourself a cake. Have a picknick. Build a website for free where you write about something that interests you. Make yourself a present such as a warm bath or a walk. Write down your thoughts.