There’s a term in psychological circles called, “the imposter’s syndrome”. This is when you’re transitioning into something new and, for a while, feel as if you are faking it, anxious someone will discover at any moment you don’t know what you are doing.
This is actually normal to feel as you grow into a different life or way of being. Transitions call us forth toward becoming something new.
But that’s not what I’m talking about in this article when I talk about pretending.
What I am referring to is feeling genuine.
Living from our integrity means living from the truth of who we are. It means we don’t pretend to be something or someone we are not. For instance, we don’t pretend to be brilliant when we don’t feel brilliant. We don’t pretend to believe we know we are valuable when we have difficulty recognizing our value. We don’t pretend we feel we are talented when we don’t in order to convince others we are.
Pretending is different from “stepping into” because pretending implies we are trying to feel something we don’t. And to some extent, we all experience this. The feeling that in some way we shouldn’t be experiencing the emotions we are experiencing.
Now, I know some people in the spiritual community might argue with me, claiming we should “think positive”, but I would argue that it would be a better idea to accept.
“There are but two ways to respond to what you feel – with love or with fear.”
A Course of Love
I don’t mean accept that we are less than. What I mean is accept all of our feelings in the moment. It’s only when we argue for or against what we feel that we become inauthentic. We feel phony because we’re trying to cover up what’s going on inside of us and pretend to be something different to the world outside.
Accepting is first acknowledging. We acknowledge what is here today.
When we can acknowledge what is here today, we are accepting where are today. This is what it means to be present. We may not necessarily like it, but we accept it.
But then we go a step further. We approve of ourselves, imperfections and all, without making ourselves right or wrong. I like to say, “good, bad, or different, the truth is I feel _____.”
This is practicing unconditional love for ourselves.
No longer trying to hide in shame over what we are not, or what we think we should be, we stand tall in everything we actually are today – someone who is still worthy of love and approval, right here and right now – warts and all.
And then, something miraculous happens. The love we were searching for, the acceptance we were hoping to find, and the approval we wanted blossoms gently within ourselves.
And now, we no longer need to pretend we have these things. We own them, and like the Velveteen Rabbit, we become real. This is Love.
Need a little more?