Who Are You Pretending to Be?
People pretend stuff all the time, don’t they? I mean – it’s April Fool’s Day for goodness’ sake. It is all about kidding someone about something. Do you remember the BBC news back in the day – where they pretended spaghetti grew on trees?
I know – you weren’t born then (1957), neither was I, I saw it on a best April Fools gags somewhere – look it up.
When we are kids, we pretend stuff all the time. We pretend to be teachers, or astronauts or Mums, or princesses. And that’s good. In those circumstances you could substitute the word ‘pretending’ for ‘trying out’ or visualising.
Pretending is a really good technique for certain aspects of life. If you pretend to be confident, eventually you might just become confident. But it’s not all fun and games.
Many people pretend stuff to cover over the cracks.
Perhaps they do it for an easier life. It can seem easier to just let the other person decide – where you are going for dinner, what colour curtains to buy, what kind of holiday to book. Maybe it’s because they are afraid of being judged – if I tell them what I really think they won’t like me anymore!
Possibly it has become such a habit that they don’t even know that they are pretending anymore.
But here’s the thing with pretending to be someone you are not. Eventually one of 2 things is going to happen. Either someone will find you out, or you will go through life afraid that someone will find you out and with a sense of dissatisfaction about your life.
If you pretend to be a certain way to get a job, or a relationship, then you have to continue to pretend for all the time you want to keep that job or that relationship. And that is just exhausting!
To say nothing of the fact that you are living a lie, and are never going to be really seen. But frankly most of the time, people will just know. They may not know what you are pretending about, but they will sense that you are being inauthentic, or at the very least – guarded.
And that doesn’t bode well for living life on your terms. Ask me how I know that.
When I first became a public speaker, I thought that you had to speak a certain way to be taken seriously. And that definitely wasn’t with a Northern accent. No, you see, I thought you had to speak with a BBC accent. And so I did.
My friends who used to watch me from the back of the auditorium would be making gestures with their fingers across their throats. I thought – “how rude. If they don’t like what I am talking about, they could just tell me later, not make off putting gestures!”. But it wasn’t that they didn’t like what I was saying, it was they didn’t like the way I was saying it.
My coach at the time pointed out that I sounded weird and the importance of being ME, being authentic on stage. And he was right. When I started being me, I found much more success. Yes, there were people who didn’t like me, but there were a load of people who really loved what I said and the way I said it.
And that just proves again – if I needed it proven – that having a coach and a bunch of supportive people who will tell you the truth, is a massive benefit to being able to live your best life.
So what or who are you pretending to be and why?
Are you pretending to have everything under control? Why? Because you feel people expect that of you? Or you have to protect them from the truth? The horrible, terrible truth – that you are a human being and DON’T always have everything under control?
Well, the problem with that is, how is anyone ever going to help you, if they don’t know you need help? One of my friends Mum didn’t much like flowers. But she never told her husband, who religiously bought her flowers every anniversary.
She loved the gesture of course, but she could have also loved the presents! And more importantly, she could have loved the way her husband knew her so well that he could buy her thoughtful gifts. But she couldn’t ever do that, because she had been pretending for so long that she didn’t know how to tell him.
One of the things the WHYs Women love about the Live Love Laugh Lounge, is that no-one has to pretend….ever. If you are proud of something – you can shout about it. No-one will judge you. If you are sad you can say it, and someone will offer a shoulder.
And if you are feeling like you are not enough, you can be honest, and there will be a whole bunch of people ready and waiting to lift you up.
So April Fool’s Day or not – no pretending, right?