Dr. Bob Wright | June 18, 2019

Feeling Okay is a Choice: How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It

Is being single a deficit? How do you value yourself? What if you feel like no one else values or appreciates you?

Does it really work to “fake it ‘till you make it”? When it comes to confidence and self-worth sometimes the boost we need is inside us all along.

Can you fake it ‘till you make it when it comes to having confidence and self-worth?

These questions speak to our deepest concerns about ourselves. Many of us believe we’re inadequate or view our relationships as a way to measure our worth.

The truth is, feeling okay—heck, feeling great—about yourself is a choice. Here’s how to choose to feel good every day.

Believing You Are Enough

Recently, I was working with a group of singles here at the Wright Foundation. We were discussing how many of them looked at being single as a deficit. They thought their single status indicated an inherent flaw or shortcoming on their part; singlehood meant they weren’t worthy of love.

As we continued the discussion, they started coming around to the idea that it’s okay to be single. It’s okay to value yourself even if no one currently values you romantically.

It’s easy to talk about self-esteem and the importance of feeling confident. It’s another concept to really value ourselves completely. Do you view yourself as a blessing? As a gift? Do you realize other people are fortunate to be around you? That their lives are enhanced simply by your presence?

It’s true. Each person has intrinsic value and worth. Even at those times when you don’t really feel it. Even in those moments, you don’t believe it one bit.

People seem to think they need to feel good to believe they are a blessing. They may feel they really need to know they have value; that they need to feel their worth in order to know they’re worthy.

It’s about simply deciding to be a blessing to others. It’s about accepting the truth: You are a gift to the world.

We start to see this concept from Eric Berne in his work on Transactional Analysis and in his book, “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.” Berne explored how our relationship with others is viewed as a game, enforcing and reinforcing our beliefs about ourselves.

People tend to think “okay” is a feeling. We’re waiting for it to happen to us out of the blue. We’re hoping the stars will align and we’ll feel “okay.” Or we look to our relationships with others to reassure us that we’re okay.

In truth, okay is a choice. Feeling okay is a decision we must make.

You may feel like absolute garbage and say, “this proves that I’m garbage.” Or you may feel like garbage and realize, “I’m an okay person who just feels like garbage right now.

A Lesson from the King & I: How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It

In the classic musical The King & I, there’s a scene that really sticks with me. The main characters—a British schoolteacher and her son—are landing in Bangkok Harbor. They’re looking out on this foreign landscape. They see new people they don’t know, dressed in unfamiliar clothing (the story takes place in the mid-1800s). The teacher and her son are afraid. To them, the strangers appear fierce and scary.

The mother turns to her son and begins to sing:

Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I’m afraid
While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows
I’m afraid
The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!
I whistle a happy tune
And ev’ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid
Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are


This is quite powerful advice from a Rogers and Hammerstein classic (and a catchy tune). It’s really a matter of how we choose to hold ourselves and how to present ourselves to those around us.  If we’re afraid we don’t have worth, we can fake it, until we fool ourselves as well.

I really think people confuse feeling bad, sad, or hurt, for being bad, sad, or hurt. It’s called emotional reasoning. It’s believing that what I feel currently is what I am. Instead, we can decide to break this self-fulfilling prophecy pattern.

Similar to how we say love is a choice—we choose to love another person—we can also choose to love ourselves. We decide to appreciate the value we have and the blessing that we are. Even if we don’t feel okay in the moment, we can act as though we believe we’re okay. We can choose to present ourselves as a person of worth. In doing so, others will see our worth and reflect it back to us.

While being single or looking for someone to value us romantically may cause us to feel undervalued and “not okay,” the more we look beyond our relationships to define our worth—the more we find worth within ourselves—the more confidence we’ll put forth into the world. We can make the choice to go forward with as much confidence as we can muster. “You may be as brave as you make believe you are!”

For more on building your confidence, please visit the Wright Foundation. We have many of our courses now available for download at a special introductory price. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about the amazing person YOU are.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.