Fake it.

The Manatee in the Mirror

The Manatee in the Mirror

“Wow, I look great! I look pretty f**in’ hot today. People certainly are lucky if they get to talk to me because not only am I hot, I am also smart and interesting. I’m great!”

How often do you say this to yourself before you leave the house?

You know the phrase “You are your own worst critic,” well the flip side of that is also true. You can be your own best advocate/complimenter/flatterer. You may just have to fake it until you believe it.

This might be a longer post so take a deep breath, have some coffee and sit back to receive some serious wisdom.

Story Time:

Years ago I found myself on my own in a small and strange community. I was single of course and for the first time in my life without a lot of good friends. I was fairly young and green and my ego was fragile. After a few months of wandering around my apartment confused about my new state of aloneness I finally realized that I couldn’t expect someone to come along and save me and that I had a choice. I could curl up in a ball, wallow around in a pool of my own loneliness and self-doubt or I could drag my sorry self out into the sunshine. I chose to drag myself out even though I wanted to hide my aloneness from the general public fearing they would notice and would of course find me lacking.

I started to rely on myself for entertainment, activities and ultimately self-definition. Since no one was around to play with me I started to do the things I loved and I learned how to do so alone. For me that meant weekly trips to the library (ok, maybe more than once-a-week), thrifting, cooking, creating and road tripping alone in my big, uncool Buick LeSabre. By the way, this was the same time in my life that I discovered the joys of black lace. I also got myself  a cowboy hat-the cowboy hat I had wanted since I was 13 years old-and started wearing it everywhere.

Since I was alone and not used to being alone I had to learn how to be ok with it (I also had to learn how to be ok with wearing a cowboy hat to the grocery store). Somewhere I had learned that uncomfortable people make a target of themselves even when they sincerely wish to dissolve into the background*.  But I also knew this: if you act as though whatever you are doing is natural and correct, if you act comfortable and confident then the people around you will view you that way. Whoa! There, see? There is the wisdom I promised.

I had to be sure that I looked comfortable alone and since I wasn’t comfortable being alone I started “faking it”. I forced myself to walk around with more confidence than I felt. To do that I told myself that I was smarter, prettier and more interesting than everyone else in the county as I went about town armed with my newly designed regimen of single-girl enrichment activities. I probably told myself that I was the best dancer too-just to cover all my bases.

I was pretending that I was the prettiest, smartest and most interesting thing around and eventually this pretending started to affect how I really felt. Since I was walking around pretending that I was the best thing since sliced bread I noticed that people started looking at me that way too (at least new, self-confident me did).

Was I the prettiest, smartest, most interesting and best dancer in the county? Probably not but why should I tell myself that I am average? What good does that do me?

Application time:

Start telling yourself that you look good. Start small if you want and say “hey, my hair looks really shiny today-not bad,” or advance to “hmmm….my butt must be related to Beyonce Knowles’s butt. It looks like the butt of a celebrity in these jeans and in fact, my butt is a celebrity and should have it’s own fan page.”

This may feel strange and forced at first and it takes practice. If you keep it up eventually this fake self-confidence will become real and there is nothing more attractive to others than confidence. Word of caution: just because you are becoming comfortable telling yourself how hot you are, you shouldn’t get so comfortable that you start telling others that you are the hottest thing west of the Mississippi -or east for that matter. They may mistake your self-confidence for boastfulness or craziness. No one wants that.

I have been complimenting myself for years now but there are still those days that I believe I look like crap and weigh as much as a manatee. And on those days it is even more important that I find something good to say about myself! Never take a day off!

Finally, learn how to accept compliments without being bashful because they come with the territory. Don’t deny the complimenter the compliment. Say “thank you” and smile. After all, the complimenter is  just telling you what you already know-you are really good looking and the world appreciates it.

*This is also why you should elect to wear clothes that you can be comfortable in. You don’t want to be plucking at skirts or adjusting your top too much at a party. It will draw attention and more people will notice your clothing problem. If you do find that you have made an outfit mistake, pretend your way out of it. Pretend that you are fine with what you are wearing, even if you are not, and few will notice.

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One comment on “Fake it.

  1. cheflorelei says:

    Great advice and illustration.

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