During one of my meditations, I thought of a quote that was "fakeness is a shield for weakness." It brought me on a quest to understand the nature of what being "fake" means and why so many people are "fake".
"Fakeness" is an individual's desperate attempt to function in the world in a way that they believe is acceptable by society. Social conditioning ultimately is what shapes this "fakeness". Social conditioning exists in all nations and it gives arbitrary, and often destructive criteria that people conform to because they believe it will make them more acceptable in the eyes of their peers.
"Fakeness" exists and persists primarily because of two factors:
1) Most people are not exposed to what it means to be truly authentic and thus do not know how to be more authentic or do not see why being authentic is a more fulfilling way of being.
2) Beginning to be authentic has growing pains and is often difficult and scary.
So what is this "weakness" you might ask? The weakness is one's lack of fortitude to be authentic! It is far easier to fit in to how you think you ought to be. The rabbit hole gets deeper when we realize that this fear comes from a lack of self-love; a lack of self-worth. The catch 22 many people find themselves in is that they believe that in order to find more self-love & self-worth, they need to continue to conform to the societal standards of what it means to be "cool".
So how do we stop the madness? We must practice being more authentic. We must start to appreciate the things that we like about ourselves. Try this experiment, everyday you wake up, think of 10 things you really like about yourself. They could be as simple as "I like that I am committing to this experiment." Do this for a week and remind yourself throughout the day of your worthiness.
How can you be an ally to someone on their quest to be more authentic? One thing that I love to do is remind others of genuine things I like about them. (I think you are very clever, you are such an excellent speaker, you have great work ethic! etc.) Positive affirmations go a long way. They remind someone that they have "lovable" traits.
On the contrary, "fakeness" can be found on the other side of the spectrum and can equate to an overly inflated ego and pretentious conceit. This is another shield of weakness. This weakness is the fear of being vulnerable. Their pride masquerades as strength. Someone who is truly authentic is seldom pretentious. This "fakeness" is arguably much more difficult to combat against.
If we find ourselves being conceited or overly egotistical. I have found it beneficial to remind yourself of the things you need to work on. I personally can be a bit of a know-it-all and I always remind myself that there are always others wiser than I am.
What about when you encounter someone with an over-inflated ego. What I have found to be effective in subconsciously assisting the other person self-correct themselves is to subtly remind them of the natural tendency of humans to make mistakes. Another thing I like to do personally is what I call "Pierce the wall". This is a practice I do when I meet someone that is overly pretentious around me. I ask them thought provoking questions that gently help shake up their assured persona. When you "pierce this wall", you are moving beyond the shallow level of conversation and moving into a much more thought provoking and meaningful realm. Normally, someone who is overly conceited is out of their element with these types of conversations and it allows you to better plant seeds of consciousness within their minds.
"Fakeness", paradoxically acts as a contrast to help us better understand what authenticity is. Rather than demonizing "fakeness", it is important to recognize it for its function and transmute it into that of authenticity.
"The definition of freedom is the infinite value of the human being. The definition of evil is the destruction of freedom. Everything that is evil teaches people that they have limited value."
"You are the key. To teach the people of the earth the value that they have within themselves you need only to speak, and tell them that every good thing is theirs to have"
- The End of All Evil by: Jeremy Locke