The Filament Blog

Fake It 'Til You Make It? I Don't Think So.

Aug 02, 2023

I woke up feeling sluggish. Not only that, I’d had some upsetting dreams the night before. I couldn’t remember the details, but I knew I was waking up out of some stressful scenario (probably involving my front teeth falling out). I threw off the covers, pulled off my CPAP and laid in bed like a dead person, delaying the start of my day.


I swung my arms left and right to help me roll over (it’s a paralyzed thing), scooted to the end of my bed, and tried to transfer. My chair moved a little and I landed on my seat lopsided, almost falling, and fought to pull the rest of my body into my seat. “Perfect start” I thought, feeling my agitation rise.


I turned in my chair to change the water in my CPAP machine, and thought, “Ugh, I’ll do it tonight” and started to roll past my unmade bed to my bathroom,entirely  skipping my morning routine. But before I made it there, I paused. I thought how interesting it was that my agitation, tiredness, and grouchiness were having such a direct impact on my behavior. Just the day before, I had woken up feeling refreshed and didn’t hesitate to make my bed, get dressed, and wash my face cheerfully while listening to Hilary Hahn play the Bach Sonatas.


I could see the correlation between my emotional states and my behavior so clearly. This is something I’ve been working on - identifying the way my emotions drive my behavior and follow-through on what I want.


So, instead of allowing my emotional state to dictate the day, I wanted to try an experiment. I turned around, pulled out the CPAP water container and refilled it. I made my bed and continued to follow through with my morning routine, making breakfast, calling Melissa to talk business, and planned the rest of the day.


As I took these actions, doing them even though I didn’t feel like it, I noticed that my mood also began to shift. By the time my breakfast was made, I was feeling motivated and ready for the day - and I hadn’t even had a sip of coffee.


Empowerment is a word that is often thrown around in the self-help world and is generally used to mean being amped up, supercharged, and motivated. But that isn’t real empowerment - all of those things are feelings or emotions. And the thing about feelings is that they are fickle and unpredictable. Humans are notoriously ineffective at controlling their emotions. Waking up from a bad dream and feeling stressed is a great example. Who can control their dreams?!


Real empowerment is something so much more profound and honestly, miraculous. It is a state of being. It is having the freedom to choose who to be and how to act, even while immersed in a variety of emotions and sensations. Many of our greatest heroes are people who demonstrate this empowered way of being - they make choices to act in alignment with their values rather than their feelings alone.


Some call this “Fake it 'til you make it,” but I don’t think there is anything fake about it. To make a choice of your own free will, and in the face of opposition, is the real-est, most authentic thing a human can do. It isn't’ “fake it 'til you make it” - it’s “be it and you’ve become it”.