“Fake it ’til you make it” is a phrase I heard more than a few times during my coursework and internship for my master’s degree. The idea there was that even though we students didn’t yet feel like “real counselors”, if we kept going through the motions, we’d be gaining skills and knowledge and would, one day, “make it” and feel like “real counselors”. And, you know something? By the end of my internship, I was “making it”.
Sometimes I feel like I have to “fake it” until I “make it” when it comes to my eating and body image concerns, too. There are just days when I wake up feeling ugly and “squishy” and thinking in terms of “good” and “bad” foods. These days I find I have to “fake it”; I just have to keep going through the motions…continue countering my maladaptive thoughts, continue eating healthfully, continue exercising regularly, continue smiling, continue telling myself “I can do this”, even when a part of me doesn’t believe it. The feeling that I’m faking it inevitably passes–hours, days, weeks later–and I find I am actually making it…I really am making progress, one day at a time.
Having said that, in the early years of my eating disorder, I spent significant time and energy tricking myself and others into thinking everything was “A-okay” when I really desperately needed support. If you feel ill equipped for the journey towards recovery, let someone know. Don’t fake it, ’cause you won’t make it if no one knows you need help. Seek out someone you trust (or call a mental health professional) and share your struggles. If you already have the tools for recovery and it’s just a matter of using them, then, by all means, “fake it ’til you make it”. You will, indeed, make it with the right tools and support.
Peace, joy, and health.