Faking it.

We all fake it. We all do. At one time or another, we fake who we are. We do this to be polite at times, as to not put our problems and mess, on someone else. We do it to survive a toxic relationship, that we know we can’t leave. We do it to convince others that we are something we know we are not. And we do it to get from one level to the next, until we don’t have to fake it. We even fake it for so long, that we forget just who we are.

Now you may be thinking, no that’s not me. I actually don’t have to fake it. Well, good for you, you are one of the special few.

What I do know, and would love to talk about, is how we all have been in situations where we have felt the need to hide our struggles, problems, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and fears. We have all put up that front, that cover, that mask. There are definitely times, when it is appropriate, and necessary for sure. But then, there is the rest of life. Most of life. Life that is hard and full of struggles. Really hard. Like tough marriages, that are caught up in a cycle that are increasingly unhealthy, year after year. Like friendships that are complicated and difficult. Like parents that don’t approve of your decisions, or judge the way your chose to live your life. Or maybe, for you, it’s your children, that seem to be slipping away, and you just can’t figure out how to build the relationship you’d like to have with them. Maybe, someone you love is abusing drugs, or alcohol, and it’s ruining their life, and yours.  Maybe you lost your job and you just can’t get yourself to believe in yourself again. Maybe it’s infidelity, mental illness, a financial crisis, or worse. The list goes on. Right? We all have something we are struggling with, or know someone dear to us, that is experiencing one or more of these troubles right now. But, we don’t let on. We fake it. We look good, move forward, and don’t let our guard down.

With all this though, what I see most days are friends, family, and people around me, smiling, saying “Yeah, I’m good. You?” Or, “alright, great. You?” We smile, and grin, and wave, and nod when we really want to cry, and shake our heads and beg for help. Why do we say we are “good” when we aren’t?  Well, of course I can’t go around saying the truth on any given day, or I’d be crying at the checkout counter and falling to the ground, in tears on a run. (well, actually, I’ve done both.) Most seasons in life we are coasting along and life IS good. But then when we find ourselves in that tough place, we put on that smile. Really though, we want to look good. But what is looking good? We’ve created such an image of what it looks like to be healthy and happy, that it is just that, an image.

What I would love to see, is more of us sharing our struggles, and talking about our pains. We would all be comforted, and blown away, knowing that we are not alone. So much of our anxiety and troubles, come from feeling alone, and not knowing where to turn, or how to deal with things. When in reality, the person right next to you, working with you, going to school with you, or doing life with you, is dealing with something similar, or knows someone who has been where you are.

This life is tough. It is. If you are in a good place right now, I am thrilled for you. I am. I love that place. But soon enough, seasons change, and we all find ourselves back in a situation that isn’t so easy.  Or, if you are like me, or most people who have experienced trauma, or a painful event, you’re still reliving the uninvited past, from time to time. Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if you could speak freely about your struggles? Wouldn’t it be the sweetest thing, to understand that you are not alone? Or, to be open enough with people, to share your struggles, to be able to in turn help someone else?

I’ve been very open about my life with friends, and people I meet. I always have. I try hard not to be fake. Do I fake it? Yes. I do. And I know, that it’s actually not so healthy. Sadness, stress and worry actually store up in my body on a cellular level, and become who I am emotionally, spiritually and physically. So that, I don’t want. That is why one thing I do, is talk. I talk with friends when I feel it is appropriate, and I share. I share what I’ve been through, and I share my fears and faults. Thankfully, I have. Because with that, I allow others to see my mess and my hope, my fears and my triumphs, my weakness and my strength. Through that, I have found that women, (some men) come to me and share their troubles. I’ve had friends, and a few strangers, (yep) open up to me, and talk about their struggles with husbands, family, friends and life. What is so beautiful through it though, is that there is this incredible, loving connection that takes place, that only happens when two people are open and authentic about who they really are, and what they are really dealing with. There is no room for faking. No room for just “good”. And what happens when there is no room for faking it? Real life opportunity for spiritual growth, emotional healing, physical healing, and life change happens. Just like that. No magic pill. No special therapy. No long drawn out, difficult process. Just an honest moment of connecting with another person, (a lot of listening) that allows who you really are deep down inside, to resurface in a safe, simple way. Sometimes, allowing that part of you to surface, (that has been stuffed deep down, hiding from the world, because of that “fake” you), now has a chance to come up and just be. And when that happens. Wow. Watch out. The mask comes off. And all kinds of growth and healing is possible.

There is a time for therapy of course, and professional help yes. But, what we need more of, and desperately desire, are real relationships with no filters. No fake anything. You will surprise yourself. You’ll see. When you break down those walls and let people in. You just may help yourself out.