Don't fake it till you make it: A love note to Halloween

publishedabout 1 month ago
3 min read

Happy Halloween!

When my kids were young, I bought a blond wig to wear on Halloween. I wanted to be a fun mom who dressed up for the holiday. The kids hated it. They cried, “Take it off, take it off!”. It was scary that I could be someone else, even for a few minutes. They wanted to look over and see their Mom. Of course they did.

By adulthood, most of us aren’t alarmed by a wig, but it can be scary to be someone else – scary for us and scary for others. If you’ve always told your kids, “I’ll drop everything to help,” it can be upsetting the first time you say, “I can’t come today; how about this weekend?” If you're generally cynical, it can be upsetting to find yourself in love and unironically shopping for Fall scented candles, wondering, WHO EVEN AM I?

So while there’s a lot of talk about self growth and “New Year, New You!” the fact is, change can be unsettling, especially if we go too fast. We may want to be more confident, more Zen, more self-accepting, but we can’t just catapult ourselves into a new way of being.

So what can we do?

Sometimes when a client wants to step into a new identity but isn’t feeling it yet they’ll ask, “Should I fake it until I make it?”

We’ve all heard this advice. Put a smile on your face even if you don’t feel it and maybe eventually you will feel it.

I’m not a fan. I don’t like the idea of faking a feeling.

Instead, I suggest learning from drag queens and kings. Drag isn’t “faking it.” It’s performative.

Halloween costumes are a kind of drag, with their freedom to be someone else for a day. However we usually see ourselves, on Halloween, we can look in the mirror and see someone else – A towering dinosaur, a playful Willy Wonka, a glamorous princess, or a powerful monster.

They’re all parts of us, or we wouldn’t feel drawn to the costumes. And for a day, we let ourselves be someone else. It’s not faking – it’s exploration.

This is how I like to think about new identities – like trying on clothes. It’s not faking, it’s exploration. It might not feel comfortable right away – or maybe it will. When other people see you as different than you usually are, they might not know what to make of it. Or maybe they’ll love it. It’s all okay. We’ll just take our new selves out for a spin and see how it feels.

What might you want to try on?

Maybe you’re stepping into a leadership role, when you’ve always seen yourself as a follower.

Maybe you’ve always leaned into self-deprecating humor and you want to try to speak boldy about your accomplishments, no jokes involved.

Maybe you’ve been a caretaker for decades and now want to be a performer.

Maybe you've recently given up alcohol and aren't sure how to be around your friends.

This week, whatever calls to you, think of some small way to try it on. Maybe it's an item of clothing. Maybe it's being in a new space for five minutes. Maybe it's saying one sentence in a meeting. Try it out and let it be uncomfortable at first. It’s not faking, it’s exploration. Let yourself explore and see what ultimately feels like a good fit. ❤️

Sometimes finding a "good fit" is about finding what engages us in a Goldilocks way -- not too much (overwhelm) and not too little (underwhelm), but just the right amount of whelm. That's the topic of this week's podcast.

Episode #74: Overwhelm & underwhelm

Most of the people I know are frequently overwhelmed. We're overwhelmed with things to do, with decisions, with responsibilites & obligations.

On this episode, I talk about overwhelm's less-known sibling, underwhelm. They're connected more than we realize, since overwhelm is most likely when we have too many "have to"s on our list and not enough "want to"s.

We don't think about underwhelm because it's much quieter than overwhelm, but paying attention to underwhelm as a feeling actually provides a path away from overwhelm.

Take a listen and let me know what resonates.

Love, Rachel

⭐ I love being connected to you ⭐




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Rachel Baum

I'm a life coach, college professor, and former president of the Overthinkers Club. I also host the Making Midlife Magic podcast. I love helping middle aged people dream again and create lives they love.

Read more from Rachel Baum