When is it ok to pretend?

Is it ok to pretend to be something you’re not? Most people commonly answer no to this question.

Fine, it’s not ok to pretend to be a doctor when I confuse Five-day fever with the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

But what about, say, pretending my one-man company is bigger than it is, in order to acquire a lucrative client? Yes? No? Maybe?

What about happy? Is it ok to pretend to be happy when you’re not?

Now there’s a tricky one.

Aren’t all mental states pretend? And what’s the opposite of it? ‘Pretend’ is a verb. It instructs you to do something. And there seems to be no verb that conveys the opposite message.


Could that qualify?

If you’re not happy, and you want to change that situation, it seems to me, you have 2 choices.

  1. Try to find happiness
  2. Pretend to be happy

So option 1 trying to find happiness seems like a waste of time because you have to bend the external world to your will. You have to go and get that money, make that person fall in love with you and force that six-pack to emerge from your belly. And repeat forever.

Option 2, pretend to be happy.. that seems like .. ok, lying to yourself.

“I’m not happy, so I’ll just pretend to be happy.”

Is it just me, or isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

If we are in control of one thing, that’s our mind. And if our mind is going to change from state X to state Y then.. what the heck is going to initiate that change if not you pretending to feel Y when you’re currently feeling X?