An interesting graphic popped up on my Pinterest feed. It said, “Fake it. If you don’t have it all together, pretend like you do. It will become a habit and eventually the truth.”
That’s a nice sentiment. . . as long as you’re working the high side of the street. But here’s something to consider—What kind of habit do we build if we’re constantly pretending? Do we create a blind spot by intentionally blurring the line between aspiration and reality? We’re talking about how to avoid those blind spots in the May series, Crystal Clear.
For years, Jaimie Seaton’s husband climbed the executive ladder in Finance, giving them an extravagant lifestyle. Life changed overnight when her husband announced he was breaking up their marriage to move in with his pregnant mistress. Admitting the state of her relationship was inescapable. However, getting crystal clear about her new solo financial status was much, much harder. Here’s how she recalls their separation:
“. . . Over six years in Singapore and Bangkok, we lived in fashionable and opulent homes with live-in help. Our children attended international schools, we traveled business-class to exotic locations, and I never looked at prices in the supermarket. It was our own personal La-La Land. . . There was never a moment when I thought, ‘I’m not rich anymore, I need to drastically cut my spending.’”
Jaimie returned to journalism full-time, which provided rewarding work but a disappointing paycheck. Still, she stuck with the story that their financial life was the same. Faking it was easy. Her kids didn’t want to sacrifice their annual Spring Break trip to Florida. Her former husband encouraged her to stay in the lavish home he had chosen, even though she asked for additional child support every month. And she also faked it for herself. The truth was too devastating to face.
Adjusting to the new normal included some humbling moments. However, over the next year small changes started to make sense. Better yet, they felt good. Jaimie’s outlook changed from I shouldn’t have to cut my spending to I don’t need to have help with the yard. I have to keep the big house on three acres turned into I loved that smaller house that was available in town, and the kids liked it, too. I can’t do this on my own switched to Google can tell me how to fix that appliance.
Facing the blind spot about her marriage was a long, hard road. But Jaimie’s path to empowerment included losing any judgment about her past. She showed herself grace for the things that had happened and what hadn’t. She says, “You’re not always going to make the best decisions. That’s okay.”
You may be aspirational right now. You might be stretching. That means a few missteps are inevitable. Follow Jaimie’s lead and get crystal clear that lapses and rebounds are a natural part of life. You don’t have to fake the story you tell the world. And that’s the truth.