Different masks for different people and different situations.
There are some who wear masks deliberately with the intent to deceive! The mask one wears at work is most likely very different from the mask one wears to a social event with old acquaintances, which is different from the mask they wear at a small gathering of close, intimate friends. It is a reflex to change one’s posture and smile when the ‘big boss’ comes to visit.
Many people wear masks to protect themselves from scrutiny and judgment – wondering inside “what would they think if they really knew me?” or “what would they think if they only knew the truth?” sometimes it is the imposter reflex kicking in.
Sadly, the masks people wear to protect themselves are like ‘personas’, each mask is a different personality style with a set of rules for what people think they should or can’t say or do and it changes with each different group.
Some of “Masks” people wear
- The hero mask
- The mask of the martyr
- The ‘I’m a green person’ mask
- The I’m a success mask
- The ‘I don’t need anybody’ mask
- The politically correct mask
- The ‘got everything under control’ mask
- The ‘I’m a person of influence’ mask
- The ‘I’m a spiritual person and love everybody’ mask
- There are many variations
The more time people wear ‘MASKS’ the less authentic they become and the struggle begins.
Why Do We Wear Masks?
We wear masks because we all want to be and feel accepted by others – belonging is a very strong and basic human need. Wearing different masks for different situations (using different sets of rules for different groups of people) can seem normal. Being appropriate may ‘save’ someone from judgment, but it never brought anyone lasting happiness.
(In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it falls right in between Personal Safety and Self-Esteem)
A Social Paradox – Fitting In vs. Being Happy
We, are stuck in the social paradox of “fitting in” to a system of other individuals and groups of people and or “being & expressing our true selves”. If we consider for many people, fitting in & belonging and having the superficial respect of others feels more important than having “respect for ourselves and high self-esteem”.
People wear masks to protect themselves, most of the time they’re not even aware that they’re actually hiding from the world.
Wearing too many masks, too much of the time does more harm than good to a person’s self-esteem. Another part of the paradox – on one hand they’re trying to protect themselves but they’re really hurting their true selves on the other, it can be costly.
It take a lot of personal energy to keep wearing those masks – overtime it will drain you to your core and deplete your very life essence. To constantly hide, censor and lie to others about who you really are, what you really think, how you really feel and what you’re really like in the good times and the bad. It can leave you exhausted, wrung out, isolated, then forcing you to put on another ‘brave face.
Authentic, genuine, people might still wear a mask once in a while, but they have fewer of them, less frequently and they wear masks less often than so-called ‘appropriate’ people. They ‘show up’ as their true selves, warts and all, wherever they go and whomever they’re with. They are being themselves.
It takes courage to commit to be yourself and to start shedding those masks – one by one. It can feel like you’re walking around naked, where everyone else is covered from head to toe with body armor and camouflage. It will feel vulnerable, and that can a scary.
It is expressed so well by Marriane Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This inspires me every time I read it.
What does it mean to be authentic?
Being authentic means, you are being yourself at the very deepest possible level. Your true nature, who you really are, is calm and relaxed but so ‘alive’ at the same time. You are honest with yourself and with others. You have personal integrity and you honour your true self, your inner spirit – you are in touch with your lifenergi.
Why bother & what’s the benefit of being authentic?
There comes a time in people’s lives when they begin to value how they feel about themselves more than they value what others think of them, my grandmother was truly authentic. There is amazing power and sense of freedom and lightness released when being authentic. Its powerful and nuturing and after a while, being ‘real’ naturally occurs. Once you start living authentically lifenergi starts…
- When you are authentic everything in life gets easier:
- You feel more confidence & clarity as you go about life.
- You experience less self-doubt and second guessing, as you do know yourself.
- You are more effective at doing your work, collaborating with people, leading others, being led by others.
- You feel more alive, energetic, enthusiastic, positive and you are in-touch with you
How does one become more authentic?
Authenticity (being real) will be the topic of more posts, including information about ‘what gets in the way of being authentic’ a clue ‘ego’. If this speaks to you or if you get gut feel that you would like to know more about the journey to ‘Authenticity’ read more about the LIFENERGI workshop.
I will close off with.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson