In my father’s office building he has a fake tree in both the waiting room and his personal office. When I asked him why he chose that type of decoration he said it makes the space a little more lively and serene. I found it funny that he said the fake trees add an element of life to each room- after all they are anything but alive. However, they are a quick, easy and seemingly effective filler for adding the nature element to the office. This got me thinking- how many fake plants do we have in our lives? How many fillers have we implemented to plug a void? Sure these “fake plants” close in the gaps for what we need or want but they are just temporary (and really don’t look or feel as good as the real thing). So why do we bother filling the voids with illusions? Well for starters, articulating what we really want can be difficult. Sometimes we feel that one thing will satisfy us, we try it out but then realize it does not do the job properly. Other times, knowing what you want and how to get there can feel daunting or overwhelming. Most of us prefer a quick fix, so we find a substitute (even though it’s not really up to par) and go with that. Another reason is that we recognize that our true desire may not align with what our family, friends or community feels is acceptable. In fact, our ‘want/need’ may seem so different (and perhaps incorrect) that we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t really want it because it doesn’t fall into the norm. We then continue to lie to ourselves and implement the accepted structure into our lives (despite the fact that we are not being true to ourselves.) Eventually though, even fake plants start to look a little old, and our illusions start to look and feel like illusions. So how do we minimize the cheap fake trees in our lives? Be aware of what elements in your life don’t mesh with what feels right to you. Be aware of what feels unnaturally forced in your routine. Then consider what substitutes would better satisfy you. Look for those moments when you say to yourself “I wish I was…”. For example if at work you are constantly wishing you were not there or taking a vacation, it’s very likely that this position is only an illusion. Sure the job fills the work void in your life, but it’s not bringing genuine satisfaction. There’s a great difference between what you don’t want to do versus what doesn’t feel right for you to do. The latter will take a toll on your overall disposition and personality. The latter is the fake plant.