To Fake or Not to Fake… Is That a Question?

Posted: February 9, 2012 in mask, what makes us tick

Let’s face it, most of us have faked something in life. Feelings, expertise, attention, indifference — there’s so many things you can fake. Yes, that thing too. Sometimes faking is necessary, sometimes it’s the most natural thing to do and sometimes it’s even fun. But doing it for too long is a bad idea. It will turn into poison.

Very few things will wear you down as much as constant mask wearing. Pretending to be someone you’re not may be ok for a while, but at some point tiredness kicks in. Regardless of what people think of you, you know you’re a fake. You can fool others, but can’t fool yourself. You feel hollow inside. You want to take that real feeling or lack of interest — whatever it is that you’re hiding — and shove it into people’s faces. You want them to see the real you, regardless of the implications.

But the major danger isn’t tiredness. It’s that once you wear a mask for too long you may become it. Instead of being the genuine you, you start investing more and more time and effort into keeping your mask believable. And at some point you’re no longer living your own life. You’re living the life of a mask you’ve invented. And that’s a pretty pathetic way to live.

P.S. I have no doubt this post will be misinterpreted by many readers.

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Comments
  1. Dawn says:

    Unfortunately we live in a society that is not very accepting of the “real.” We worship the fake, plastic facades that grace our televisions, the made up personas of reality TV and the living large lifestyles we see in Hollywood. This too is what our children see and want to emulate. This is a problem that gets worse with each generation as kids try to hide their differences and not stand out in a crowd, a trait learned not only from TV but from the people around them. It is a very tiring habit to keep up and even if you don’t turn into that “fake” person, hiding from yourself changes you none-the-less, and generally not in a good way. I think as we get older we realize what we are doing and slowly begin to care less what people think but even then you don’t give it up completely.

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  2. Lisa says:

    Loaded subject, unmaskd. I don’t even know where to begin. To me, the issue of the false personas we create, how and why we come to create them, and the forces which conspire to keep them in place is very complex. I think masks are created for a variety of reasons. For example, children from abusive homes. quickly learn to mask or shut down their true feelings for their very survival. Adolescents, trying to fit in, may take on similar characteristics to their peers, in order to feel a sense of belonging. When personas take over we become further and further removed from the essentialness of who we are and what we are about. We become “empty”. I also think society (especially the media), can really mess with our heads. We lose sight of who we are and what is most essential. I agree with Dawn: For some reason as we age we become less interested in fitting in and a bit more comfortable in our own skin. The problem is to a certain extent, the damage is done. I believe there are still huge chunks of our potential selves we may never come to know, or share.

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  3. Lisa says:

    Isn’t “To fake or not to fake” the opposite of “To BE or not to BE”? You stinker, you. : ) Good one.

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  4. Jess says:

    Unmaskd! Surely you’ve never faked *that*!! Haha..
    Deep topic, of which I’m sure you’ll get a fair share of deep responses. Thought I’d keep mine light today.
    Suffice to say, change starts with us. We can be real role models for those around us.

    J x

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  5. Anonymous says:

    One thing that I usually fake is for the sake of others.. That is I understate the Truth so ppl are comfortable with hearing the message! Being someone who was put on this earth to help others I have to always decipher how I say things so it comes across with love, instead of judgement or critique.. But also I’m very transparent because there’s a freedom in being that way, althought many times I stay quiet if I don’t think my words will be of help to someone. And sometimes I stay quiet because enough has been said and there’s nothing more to say to help someone see things for what they are, if I’ve already shined the light on a situation, I don’t like to beat a dead horse!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    One thing that I usually fake is for the sake of others.. That is I understate the Truth so ppl are comfortable with hearing the message! Being someone who was put on this earth to help others I have to always decipher how I say things so it comes across with love, instead of judgement or critique.. But also I’m very transparent because there’s a freedom in being that way, althought many times I stay quiet if I don’t think my words will be of help to someone. And sometimes I stay quiet because enough has been said and there’s nothing more to say to help someone see things for what they are, if I’ve already shined the light on a situation, I don’t like to beat a dead horse!

    -RM

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  7. Sarah says:

    *Or….Gasmic!*

    (…. at least if UR asking the Question about *Faking it* U R conscious there is a choice aboit how U convey your reality… U can either be REAL or U can *Fake it* … Oddly *Fakingj it * can be a valid & real response to some situations….especially if U R a MASK 😉 ….@ least U *know* the truth! But @ the same time as you rightly say…. There is only so long U can play games with yourself & others before reality BITES …U get to a point where * hiding* loses its appeal…. The irony is it is as much about others’ perception as it is about aurhenticity. We may be as *real * as you like, yet others assume & project ( U know this phenomenon only too well!)….
    Misinterpretation or not it sucks to be thought of as fake when U R actually not… & rhe reverse is equally true ( & far more terrifying)) … To be thought of as authentic when UR actually Fake…. Mm… It s a rare misinterpretation… But it does happen (I think U know this phenomenon rather well too!)…

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  8. S.A. says:

    people use masks to different type of things , like a mask to pretending to be interest of someone is telling u , a mask of being upset , because the other person need to know that he did was wrong . we live in society and because of that we need to control our instinct, to educated ourselves but somehow still being ourselves .
    the ones that use the mask all the time and want to believe that mask is real , are the ones that are unhappy with their own life , ans create that mask to justified that unhappiness or to live that life they want but don’t exist .

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  9. Providing good faith argument here because the real me loves respectful debate devoid of the dynamic which can exist mostly resulting from attraction. In some ways distance can be useful. Kind of reframing what you and some of the posters already mentioned but three more specific circumstances came to mind after reading.

    Consider the person who doesn’t know who they are and might go through life never quite certain of self but seem to get along most of the time. Are they fake? Perhaps creating a fake persona does actually evolve into a genuine expression. There has to be some truth in “fake it til you make it.” Learning something new in most cases is extremely awkward initially. Most people quit during this stage. Maybe faking it, or acting is what helps us overcome the challenges most daunting of which could very well be that feeling of inauthenticity.

    Or quite the opposite. Hypothetically, I’ve been fortunate to employ my passion of dance as a mediocre stripper so that I can afford the schooling to do something more sustaining long term. Not to say that stripping is a mediocre career choice, just that I’m not great at it. But what if it’s to pursue a trade like nursing in hopes of affording modern dance lessons for fun and perhaps teach? Why not just become a dance teacher? Well because most, not all but most dance teachers have someone else supporting them. Does that mean any or all of my persona is fake? So it all works out and I’m working fifty hours plus as a nurse per week dedicating resources to that passionate endeavor. Over time, the love fades for whatever reason and maybe for a while I’m just working to sustain. Kind of sounds like that discussion about our tolerance for routine all over again.

    Lastly, people change their minds. Once this happens for a strongly held belief, seeing validity in multiple outcomes becomes easier. Perhaps the change is mildly subconscious resulting in a person acting or reacting differently to a situation over say two years or even immediately depending on how impactful an experience may be. Was I being fake two hours ago? Who’s to say? How about being kind to someone you don’t like? If kindness is one’s home base for engaging, then is it fake?

    Sure our notion of reality has been challenged by media but what we’ve come to label as fake may simply be our instinctive reaction to misunderstanding. Like you said though, unfortunate is consistently choosing convenience over the risk to reach our full potential if only for a moment.

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  10. Lisa says:

    I think we need to distinguish between conscious versus unconscious masks. It’s the ones that are hidden from ourselves which I find most disconcerting.

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    • Our unconscious is not necessarily a Mask…but it can catch us out that IS for sure. Our unconscious is something we may not always grasp or understand …but until we get to grips with it we never truly know ourselves… I guess our archetypal tendencies could be described as a form of Masking…but again I would think they are more a means of self expression than a deliberate concealment of the truth.

      Conscious Mask wearing is worrying (except in the case of our good friend *Masky*)…for this smacks of manipulation…but even so it has its uses I imagine. It is not the way I operate…but actors for instance can create great impact through conscious Mask wearing. It must surely be the narcissistic *Mask* wearers who are the most dangerous… those who appear to be devoid of a personality or Soul….or overly detached from reality to the point of not really giving a damn.

      Anyone truly in touch with their heart ❤ and their truth can not possibly be said to be Masking or hiding anything at all…. (though even the heart felt are capable of having an unconcious that may be full of expectation of a *return* on generous gestures made! Not sure this is strictly speaking a *Mask*….but perhaps it IS!)

      …Is wearing your heart on your sleeve the most subversive Mask of them all?! Now there's a thought !

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  11. A says:

    Beneath the masks we are all pure potentiality. Unable to manifest all and nothing at once, we must choose our roles to play on this lower plane of existence called Earth. Together we push and pull, fit and fumble to reflect back what we are experiencing within.
    Unsure why, some forget the layer beneath the outer as the source, instead sourcing inner from what is playing out. To live balanced, fulfilled, it is helpful to remember both sides of the coin, as it were, starting with the heart center, moving out from there.
    Playing (‘masking’) with awareness of the infinite inside as we choose what role makes that white light shine.
    It’s like a crystal, these masks… Taking pure white light and refracting certain colors into the world. Meditate on the white light in your heart. Walk with ease in your role, knowing you are that. And more…
    It ain’t always easy. But thank you, more please

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  12. Anna says:

    Nice advertisement, unmaskd. Is Bolt you?

    This whole conver’ is getting too complex and heavy to me. It’s so funny you are talking about masks, because quite seriously i think people who are wearing heavily botoxed faces strike me like they are wearing one of those Halloween mask. The only things that seem to move are their lips (barely) and their eyes. For me the most important thing is to be in touch with ones core feelings. A lot of us don’t even know what is running our “show”.

    On a related subject, I leave you with this: http://skdesigns.com/internet/articles/quotes/williamson/our_deepest_fear/

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  13. LT says:

    The last paragraph is the one that made me think the most. I suppose it’s different with different walks of life, but what strikes me are the consequences of being caught wearing the mask.

    As much as global-we like to see people wearing the masks that we expect them to wear, any crack in that mask results in more judgement, angst, and drama explosion that at any point I’ve ever seen in my short 40 years. The real-time, one-world paradigm that the ‘net and social media have created have resulted in an extremely unforgiving world view.

    So, really, once you put on the mask and expose that mask to any volume of people (as the mayor of a small town of 100 to a megasupahstar) you are trapped behind it, and you ain’t getting out without a whole lot of destruction.

    Mask = teh bad, period.

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  14. CB says:

    I’ve decided to put the mask I’ve been wearing in my marriage on the table. It was a mask of armour to protect myself. The armour is too heavy and I need to breathe. I’m not going to battle anymore. I will be me because I can’t suppress who I am to accomodate him anymore. Come what may.

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    • Congrats….this maybe IS the right thing for you….but try not to project blame onto someone else….

      Remember there is always two sides to things….and where we find we are so challenged by someone else…? Oftentimes it is showing us something about ourselves.

      Honestly ask yourself how has this relationship got to this point? What if anything can be done to salvage things?

      Men can (sometimes) be simple creatures in terms of the running of their daily lives…They generally deal with what is in front of their faces….They dont necessarily like big analytical chats….They may think and feel far more deeply than they realise….yet not necessarily be that good at expressing this… They respond to fun, laughter and Joie de Vivre…

      Have a think about all of these things….and see what is in your heart about it all…?

      Have you in some way been battling with yourself rather than your hubby?

      Look at your expectations and how you hope for him to fulfil these?

      I am sure a shift is needed in this relationship as you have identified….but it need not be in quite the definite way that you think?

      Breathe on it? Give it a bit more time?

      (forgive me for butting in….just felt this stuff might prove to be a bit useful in this situation 🙂 )

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  15. when in doubt, assess the intention

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  16. CB says:

    Thanks for the input Sarah. I realized the mask was on to prevent feeling hurt and rejected. It all stems from when he left me and building a wall of protection around my heart to not get hurt again. I don’t think my expectations are too high as much as I find it very difficult to meet his expectations. He does everything he puts effort into so well that people rave but he is disappointed when others do things for him because they don’t meet his level of expectation yet he says he is easy to please. Because he left once, I don’t feel secure in his love anymore and that is where my thinking we’re done part comes from. Everyone wants unconditional love, right? I realized he loves conditionally with his head, not his heart. Does anyone really love unconditionally anyway? Other women and men think he’s a great husband for all the wonderful things he does do that other men don’t even think of doing. Am I going to complain about having married a guy who puts effort into life? Maybe I ought to show him how much I appreciate him even if the things he does are nice but not what I truly desire which is to connect with him (I just think it would take us to a whole new level instead of being stuck in the same place we’ve been most of our marriage). I see it happening over and over in all aspects of his life where he puts forth a lot of effort and people don’t appreciate his actions with reciprocation possibly because he makes it look so effortless or they know they couldn’t possibly do things as well as him or those great things don’t matter as much to them in their overall happiness. So what if we don’t communicate effectively and he’s a man of few words and lots of complaints? I have a tough skin and just like a dog come back wagging my tail. So what if he rejects who I am, others like me and I like me so maybe I should just live out my life with him and just be me since that is who he fell in love with in the first place for a while anyway. A few months after marriage he was talking divorce and that is when the rejection started and he had some health problems that added to the mix. He recently said something to me about procrastinating on a task and I said, well at least I’m not an angry person inside and he said he may be an angery person inside but at least he’s productive. Maybe that is what drives him to do great things. Obviously, he want’s greater effort from me in trying to reciprocate. There are other areas of his life that he puts very little effort into and those are the areas I put great effort into. We are total opposites! One of the things he does love about me and said in counseling is the reason we’re still together is that I can’t stay mad long and I help him to lighten up and move on so maybe that’s our glue, the one thing holding this thing together. I don’t want to live in an environment with a walking time bomb because it affects my level of peace and happiness inside and I have to express myself verbally or creatively or I think I’d burst. Inside business he is politically correct and a great leader, but outside of business, he has a difficult time communicating and no matter what the subject, he gets heated very quickly. According to a book I read and the counselor, he always thinks he is right, so if he is right, everyone else is wrong, nor does he want to talk about things because he thinks it’s a waste of time. That’s really hard for me. I just want to enjoy conversation with him about anything. I hate to see couples out to dinner looking past each others shoulders, tapping at their phone screen or staring off into space. Why is it so difficult for couples to communicate and enjoy each other in that way? I can enjoy times of silence, being in a room together doing our own thing in quietness but I don’t want that to be the norm. He’s not open to counseling anymore since it started to focus on his issues. I hate how all of our relationshp stuff is affecting the kids but somehow they have turned out really great so far. Maybe there’s a weird balance in it all. I just want them to grow up remembering a happy childhood and being able to believe in a strong, loving relationship for their own lives. I need to discuss things to feel connected and to spend time together to keep the relationship going. I’m always filled with hope. Every problem has a solution and putting a mask on or removing yourself from the situation don’t have to be the answers. I do know for the time being, he and I need to find something of interest we can do together to bond. We used to have a great time together and have done things that are wonderfully memorable mainly because of his great ideas and planning and preparation. If something existed once, it can exist again. I can let go of the hurtful things over the years but I won’t let myself be an emotional punching bag. No one deserves that. I bet there is a positive solution out there and I will find it so long as he seems to want to continue in this together. I’m not staying just until the kids are grown so he can leave. Despite his anger issues which came with him before marriage (no clue where they stem from), he puts forth effort to love anyway in the best way he knows how. Though I consider myself a loving person, maybe I’m the one with the communication issue in not adapting to what he needs. I think the solution is that we always love the way we want to be loved and you have to find a way to that compromise if the person you marry expresses their love differently than you. I think unconditional love is about giving love daily, making effort through nice gestures so that the person you love knows you love them even if you didn’t meet their expectations all the time, at least you gave a lot of effort. I don’t think love is rocket science, but you need to have chemistry. I’m going to let my love flow even if it means getting hurt or rejected again, eventually I’ll get it right with the person I committed my love to. If I give my whole heart and my best effort daily to show him I love him, I don’t think I will have to question him leaving ever again and maybe, just maybe he’ll start loving me in the way I need to be loved. I can make a wonderful life of love starting today in my marriage. You have to ask yourself, is the love about me or the other person? The answer should be about the other person, otherwise it’s selfish love (ooh, that’s an original keeper you heard it here first). I hope some of you find my situation to be beneficial in your own lives as you proceed or make decisions about love. Let the sunshine radiate from your heart. Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

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    • Belated HVD! 🙂

      In a very short response….it sounds like you actually have a whole lot to be thankful for in this man. The key would be to appreciate his language of love…which clearly he expresses in action and doing. Appreciation of each other is really all you need…and a bit more trust. Take it a day at a time and do not anticipate a parting for that will potentially create the situation if you give it enough energy. release the past and realise things will never be the same again. Realise too? That is probably a good thing.

      One day at a time in appreciation of each other is really all you need

      No human is capable of unconditional love…. God and Dogs provide this !

      Mwah XX

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  17. Sunshine says:

    I really like the visuals you select to complement your words. Speaking of legos, did you read about the giant lego man back in October that washed up on the West Coast of Florida that had the words: “NO REAL THAN YOU ARE” on it–it was on the national news. Here’s a link to one of the write ups: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111025/WIRE/111029721

    I can’t say I have ever felt hollow. I have felt numb and I have felt like I didn’t belong, confused, but never hollow. Only once in my life did I meet a “hollow” person. Who am I to judge, but it was the strangest thing and I was shocked that the words coming out of the person’s mouth were so nice and appreciative, but I could feel the emptiness as if they had no soul and were completely hollow inside from head to toe, like a cold dead shell of a body without a spirit. It felt as if the person was almost ghostly like they sold their soul to the devil (if that’s even possible). It was the strangest vibe I had ever picked up from someone. I was taken aback and it really made me think about this person and I felt so bad for the person that they would have to live with that feeling. I wondered if that is the way the person always felt inside or if it was for just for a while. I wondered if other’s felt this person’s hollowness but I never spoke of it to anyone. The person was a practical stranger, so I won’t ever find out if anything changed. Is that how you feel when you say hollow? I hope not…no one should have to live with that! My only conclusion is that the person must have a lot of pain inside that couldn’t be contained anymore and it was oozing out. To this day, I pray for that stranger to be filled with the love of God.

    On to the next part. What about the saying you hear, “fake it till you make it”? Should we put our ideals in place of what we want for our lives, visualize and work toward our goal until faking it becomes reality?

    Some lyrics to a song that seem to fit–it’s titled “Something’s Got To Change”

    …the more of us we swallow
    the more we become hollow
    until we don’t know how to feel
    we all want to find
    something to satisfy
    but we could never be enough
    everybody says we’re all so different
    but everybody knows we’re all the same
    we’re all trying to find the pill to numb the pain
    something’s got to change
    when everything we say and take
    just leads to war and hate
    we only pass the blame
    sedate the pain
    and move along
    but something feels so wrong
    so deep inside
    so hard to hide
    so despreately we try and try
    and we come to find
    that we are not what we are looking for
    I can’t believe I’m hearing people say that all is well
    I think it’s time we all admit
    we have no good within ourselves
    ’cause we are not okay
    we’re not alright
    we need to pray for help
    forgive us for our pride
    oh God, oh God
    save us from ourselves…

    I think we can only be who we are with the good, the bad and the ugly. Let it all out and be the best YOU, you can be regardless of what other’s think. Honest self expression is important because it’s about as close to genuine as you can get. Being in touch with who you are helps you to BE who you are. It’s a journey of discovery all along the way with a blueprint that’s already there. Each of us is a treasure to be discovered by ourselves and others. Who cares what other people think? Be you, be you, BE YOU! If you don’t like the bad or ugly part, focus on the good part and let that part of you shine as much as possible so the other parts you don’t like just don’t come out as much. That’s not wearing a mask, it’s saying, “hey, I’m not perfect” but I’m being true to who I am and there’s always room for improvement. You know who I am, I am an enthusiastic girl who radiates with happiness when I find things I like. I can’t help it, it just comes out that way. I am Sunshine. My mom gave me that name when I was a little girl and I believed her. I’ve had struggles, but I bounce back quickly peeking through the clouds. When it’s raining you can’t see me but I’m there and I’ll show you a rainbow. I have a good heart and if someone has a problem, I’ll help. In my heart I’m happy…I don’t really know why–I just accept it. Now, I don’t like some of my circumstances, but I endure them with a thankful heart and I always learn something. It takes time to learn, but once I’ve learned, I can share and help someone else struggling through what I’ve gone through. When I screw up, I get down on my knees and pray and it’s not long before everything’s okay (of course I have to deal with the consequences) and it’s the only way I can honestly live with myself. Whether someone believes in God or not is not my point (you have to admit it’s a very interesting topic of discussion while being one of the taboo things you’re not supposed to talk about). Why is that? My point is that in all my searching my entire life, the most real thing I have found is something I can’t see. The only conclusion that makes any sense in this mixed up world that makes me find any sort of fulfillment or sense of wholeness is God–and I even fail miserably in trying to go to God often. My life is in no way exemplary, but I don’t live to please a person or a group, I go to the Creator. I don’t live to be noticed, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’d rather be a stranger that affects someone’s life in a positive way than be applauded for something I felt in my heart was right or kind to do. I’m not perfect and never will be, but I can live with my flaws because of God. And church, well, it’s an organization and you’ve got all kinds of people in it just like any other place. It’s supposed to be a place to learn about the Bible from someone who has studied it. In the book, “The Reason for God”, Tim Keller states, “church is not a museum for saints, it’s a hospital for sinners”. This isn’t some religious talk, but I wonder how people who don’t have God or hope or something bigger than themselves, belief–I don’t know how they can have peace or deal with the dark parts of themselves. What are your thoughts–how do you live with the dark parts of yourself? How do you feel a sense of wholeness and fulfillment? (I’m certain there is supposed to be a paragraph break somewhere in this conglomeration of thought).

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