Mantras and more is the #dblogweek topic for today, and ironically (because yesterday was supposed to only be about the things that bring us down), I already touched upon the core thought and attitude that does wonders to get me through the really tough times in diabetes management, in life – in everything.
“Fake it ’til you make it.”
I’m not sure where I first heard that advice….maybe it was from the Life Coach I worked with back in 2004…..a dark time in my 10th year of having T1D when I would punch myself in the proverbial face everyday with negative speak and was ridiculously hard on myself for everything involving every facet of my life. I was alone, I wasn’t married/didn’t have a family like I always thought I would have by then, I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career, I felt fat, I felt worthless, I felt sick, I just felt awful. All the time. The early 2000s were tough, but I finally snapped out of it, and spent a lot of time working on myself, working on my attitude, and discovered that I could “fake it ’til I made it.”
Maybe I read that phrase on some self-help website talking about the power of positive thinking. Maybe I heard it in reference to one of my favorite quotes by Viktor Frankl….”Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (If you haven’t read his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” I highly recommend that you do.)
In his own way, back in the concentration camps, Viktor chose to fake it ’til he made it. He survived through some seriously awful things. Experiences no one should ever have to have. (I’m being very short in my summation – would rather you read the book than hear my layman’s review of it.) But through it all, he made the choice to stay upbeat, and control his response to all the things that happened to him. It really was the last thing he had any control over in his life.
I made that choice as well, somewhere in 2004/2005. No matter how crappy I felt, how badly I felt the world had somehow wronged me, or how down on myself I was, I put a smile on my face, and told myself it was going to be a GOOD day, I was a good person, and good things would happen. I made a conscious effort to stop saying negative things about myself….stopped saying them in the mirror when I was having a crying jag, and tried to stop saying them around other people as a defense mechanism. If someone complimented me on something, I said, “thank you,” instead of noting 10 reasons why it was nothing great/important/good. <– That one is still hard to do sometimes. It’s hard to take criticism, but even harder to take applause and appreciation.
In essence, I faked it until I made it. Funny how, once I made that decision in my head, all sorts of nice things started happening in my life. I got the gumption to help start a non-profit schnauzer rescue, I got a raise and a promotion at my job, and I met this guy – this awesome guy! – who eventually became my husband, and now we have a daughter. The big things in life I always wanted finally were in my grasp. And it was so worth it.
There will always be bad things that happen, bad times we have to go through, and no matter what positive spin you put on your life, life-itself-will-be-hard-to-get-through. Our loved ones will die. We face physical and mental adversities every single day. With diabetes, we suffer the same exhausting trials and tribulations over and over.
But the one mantra I will say, day-in-day-out is: Fake it ’til you make it.
Because, even though at first you may be faking, before you know it, you WILL make it!