Do you wear masks?
Think about your day, the person that gets out of bed and looks in the mirror, is this the same face/mask that is seen by your family, friends, colleagues? How would it feel to show the real you? Is it easier to wear the mask people want or expect to see?
Let’s consider why we put these masks on. Fear of the reactions of others can be a huge factor in why we put on masks. If we present ourselves with a mask as a confident fun-loving person, it is not going to be easy to show the vulnerable individual who hides beneath, we may worry that we will lose friends or not progress further with our career if we expose who we truly are. How true do you feel that statement is? The truth is, we all hide behind masks to a certain degree. We have a need for acceptance and the temptation is to err on the side of what we think others want to see. It is, however, tiring constantly having to be this masked version of the real you.
There is a chance that if we are constantly hiding, we will lose our own sense of identity and what our real goals and ambitions are. Consider what the real you (the unmasked version) really wants. Are you in your chosen career or one that was suggested for you? Are you reaching your full potential or is mask of insecurity or the perceptions of others preventing it? Do you get what you need from all of your relationships or does a mask prevent you from accessing all that you need (always there for others when behind your mask there is someone crying out to be heard too)? Hard questions I know, however, you deserve to be true to yourself. Exposing vulnerabilities is difficult and takes great strength and courage. If your masks are preventing you accessing what you need and deserve then perhaps you could consider allowing others to see aspects of the real you that need to be nourished too. You are worth knowing as the individual you are, once you can accept the real you yourself, give others the opportunity to accept the real you too.
If you can try to figure out why you wear different masks in different situations or with different people. When we know the reasons behind our behaviours there is a greater chance that we can alter this if this feels like the right thing to do. Defence mechanisms can play a big part in the masks we wear. If for example we feel insecure we may use humour to cover this up, if we feel threatened we may become more defensive (reactive).
Consider the new born baby, born without masks yet accepted as the beautiful untarnished individual they are. The masks develop from the reactions we receive from others, if we are not accepted for who we are, we will adapt and present another version of ourselves to see if that receives a more favourable reaction. Sometimes this is an advantageous learning experience, but other times it leads to the loss of the individual we are.
Start slowly with people you trust and see if you can peep out from behind some of those masks. It may not always be successful but keep trying in different situations. It is exhausting having to constantly swap masks!
Harness the real, authentic you.
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About Lucinda Milne
Lucinda Milne Dip Couns Reg MBACP
Awareness in Bereavement Training
Certificate in Autistic Spectrum Disorder
I have worked in the bereavement sector since 2013.
I have a wide variety of experience working with both adults and children covering a range of issues.
I have experience in working with children with additional needs.