FRIDAY THOUGHTS: ON 'FAKING IT TIL YOU MAKE IT'








I've never really understood the expression 'fake it 'til you make it'. I remember when I was younger and was incredibly shy at school, that my mum would always tell me to "pretend to be confident", and, to be frank, I always thought that was utterly shit advice. 
If I could pretend to be confident, then I would be confident, was my thinking. I couldn't pretend to be something that I simply didn't know how to be. I've spent most of my life with this mentality, but recently, I've finally begun to understand.

As my mental health has improved - depression not so overwhelming and anxiety not so crippling, I've tried my best to 'live' - to make up for lost time, so to speak, since I've spent so many of my teen years indulging my negativity and insecurities. I've tried my hardest to push myself, to socialise, create conversation, be confident, go to events I wouldn't usually, speak to new people, and overcome the awkward, shy, self-doubting person that I naturally am.



And, to an extent, its worked. I've noticed how much more dominant I have become in social situations - I try to make my presence known and my voice heard. I try to participate. I chat to people, whether in person or online, that previously would have made me nervous. Yet, every so often I get an overwhelming sense of tiredness and panic. I begin to feel like I'm a fraud, like I'm keeping up this persona that simply isn't me, and that everyone is going to find out, and then, I realise just how much energy it takes for me to assume this role. 

Quite frankly, its fucking exhausting. And it's finally taking its toll.



For the past few days all that old negativity, all my old thinking patterns, insecurities and bad habits have hit me, and they've hit me big. I've been unable to sleep without netflix on in the background, with something to focus my mind on, because simply laying down and trying to sleep opens up a door of overthinking and overanalysing that drives me mad. Social media has become a burden - I cannot stop analysing every message I send or receive - "does this person actually hate me?", "why did I send that?", "Am I annoying?" "No one is messaging me, everyone hates me" - on, and on, and on - it's irritating and exhausting! My old friend comparison has been paying me a little visit, too. They say comparison is the thief of joy, we all know that ain't wrong, but it doesn't stop us, does it? I've spent far too much time on instagram and Facebook, thinking, "I wish I was more like this", "I hate that I'm like this", "This person thinks this about me", "I hate how I look", "If I was pretty then this person would like me", "If I was funnier this would happen", "If I was different then I would be happier." So many 'ifs' that simply aren't possible, and simply play with your mind and make you more miserable.


It's particularly hard when low mood and self-esteem manifests itself as comparison, because you are able to project all of your negative emotions onto other people's opinions of you, and that gives it a level of worth and validation that makes it difficult for you to realise what is fact and what is fiction. Every single message I send or receive, I overanalyse. I'm constantly convinced that no one likes me or that I'm a major inconvenience. I'm trying so hard to keep social and not just sit in my room, but at the same time, I can't be fucked, and I just want to sit in bed and watch netflix and do nothing and not impose on anyone else's fun, because I shouldn't really be there - they don't want me there. 

I think this has all felt extra heavy as even just a couple of weeks ago, I was so sure I was overcoming these thoughts and feelings. I thought, finally, that I was on the road to self-contentment. But suddenly I'm taking two steps back. It's reminded me just how fluid everything is, nothing is static. I guess I know deep down that this too shall pass. Hell, come Monday I may be right as rain again. But the longer I feel like this, the more I worry that I'm relapsing, or that I simply won't ever be 'content'. 



For now, I'm continuing, as best I can, to 'fake it 'til I make it'. I don't think I'll ever be confident or the social butterfly and to be honest, I'm kinda cool with that - I've gradually learnt that there is far more to a person than how well they can entertain a group or be the life and soul. 
But, I'll try do my little bit. Push myself here and there to socialise with people I don't usually, to take small risks, try to make new friends and establish new relationships, and to try and separate what I think about myself from what other people think about me. 


I realise this post is very all over the place. I don't know that there is any take away point or moral to the story. But sometimes it feels nice to offload a little bit, with the hope that if someone else feels the same right now, a little bit of comfort is offered in the fact that they are not alone. I think what I've realised is that reaching a place of self-confidence is not a destination, it's a long ass journey. Too often I give myself a false sense of security, thinking that because I've had a good few weeks or months, that all my problems are solved. More often than not, confidence, self-acceptance, happiness in general is more of a journey than we initially realise. It's constant effort, constant work, and sometimes it's tiring. When you embark on a journey, sometimes you need a time out - we have no problem taking a break when we get tired. I think self-development should be treated with a similar attitude. We get tired, constantly trying to improve ourselves and overcome our insecurities. Feel free to take a minute to tap out, retreat into yourself and indulge for a hot minute. But make sure it is only a hot minute. Then get back up and go again. 


Until next time, 
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx


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