Are you hiding behind a mask?
A lot of people hide behind a mask, and you have to ask yourself why do people wear masks? Are they hiding from the world?
Some people hide behind a mask of a fake smile, while others hide themselves indoors with dark glasses. However, I’m talking about the emotional masks we wear because of fear.
For instance, those who are insecure are often hiding behind a mask of what we know as name-dropping. Those who are unsure of their power can be found hiding behind a mask of acting like a bully.
Some people use anger to hide from a world that they don’t think loves them. We’re hiding behind a mask because we are pretending.
We pretend that everything’s fine at work when we could lose our job, or we pretend that our marriage is okay when there are issues.
Why do people wear masks?
In most cases, the reason is the Imposter syndrome – the fear of being exposed as a fraud. You feel like you don’t belong and aren’t successful even though you pretend that you are, so you feel like a fake.
I remember when I wore a Halloween mask to scare my little sister, but she took it off me and said, “It’s just you.”
That is what we are afraid of, that the world will just go, “It’s just you,” when we show our true face but let me remind you that being just you is the best thing you could possibly be.
You are perfect the way you are, and you can’t be anyone else but yourself. All you can do is try to improve yourself if you’re not happy with who you are.
I’m going to try to explain to you why you should stop hiding behind the mask, and first give you three good reasons why.
One is that you should live up to your potential. You need to put yourself into what you do.
There are a lot of people with the same skill sets as yours, if not even better. However, when it comes to the job they do, they can’t bring the same spirit, personality, or creativity to it.
It’s what they simply can’t match, but you still mask that precious part of you at work, which could cause you to lose your greatest potential.
Another reason is the relief you will feel. Living an inauthentic life can be really exhausting and putting all those masks on and taking them off is exhausting, plus the worst part is that it makes you forget who you truly are.
Do you want a third reason? It’s healing.
The thing is, when you hide behind a mask, you carve pieces of yourself out, therefore withholding parts of yourself as unworthy. How can you be truly healed if you don’t offer up all of your pieces in a relationship?
Imagine if you gave your partner a broken cup and asked them to fix it while holding on to two of the pieces.
When you’re hiding behind a mask, you’re cheating, and you’re turning something deep into something shallow.
You have to realize that you weren’t born with a mask. None of us were.
Also, just like you put them on, you can take them off. There’s a simple exercise that you can do; just think of the negative message you’re holding on to and ask yourself if that negative message is true. More often than not, the answer will be no.
Why are you carrying that message then? What would happen if you let go of it?
I’m pretty sure nothing would happen. The main risk you’re facing is the reaction of the world.
When you open yourself up, it can threaten others because it makes them reevaluate their lives. Most of the time, it causes them to see that they can also change themselves, but they haven’t.
However, it shouldn’t stop you. Don’t let them scare you into putting your mask back on once you have started taking it off.
Take a minute to think about all the masks you’re wearing and decide to take them all off. There’s no shame, no regrets, and no apologies.
You deserve to be yourself, and the world can take it.
Once you take off your masks, you’ll have some realizations that I’ll tell you about. However, let’s first check for the signs you’re hiding behind a mask and how you can stop.
Hiding behind a mask
If you want to find out whether you are hiding behind a mask, answer these questions.
1. Do you often feel like a fraud?
The most common sign that you have lost your way and aren’t being who you are is if you feel like a fraud.
Isn’t it fraud when you’re not who you really are? Well, it actually is but the great thing about this is that the feeling of being a fraud disappears after you take off your mask and reconnect with who you authentically are.
Your real self deserves to be seen, and there’s no need to be afraid. After all, you want someone to love you for who you are, don’t you?
Well, the only way that could happen is if you let them see your true self. The reason you feel like a fraud is that you’re hiding your true self, you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, and for what?
You don’t owe the world anything, but you owe it to yourself to be who you really are. You will feel great once you reconnect with your true self, and you’ll see that people will love you.
What’s the point of people loving you if they don’t love you for who you are, but for who you’re pretending to be? You’re deceiving them, and it hurts you even more than it hurts them.
2. Are you in a relationship or a job that you know very well is not right for you?
The problem with wearing a mask is that you settle for things that don’t work for who you really are so you stay in a relationship or a job longer than you would if you were being who you are.
The reason you do that is either that it’s expected of you or because you don’t really believe that you deserve something better.
I was like you, completely lost. The thing is, I wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to write, but I gave up on that dream.
No one really encouraged me, and so I ended up working as a waitress and dating a much older man. I pretended to be someone I was not, for that job and for that boyfriend.
It was hard for me to believe that I could live a better life so I stayed in that relationship for four years and was working as a waitress a lot longer than I should have.
Even when the opportunity to get a better job appeared, I was too afraid to take it. I was so into pretending that I couldn’t achieve anything that I didn’t even want to try.
My boyfriend was leading me to the life of a grown-up woman who just wanted to provide for her family in any way. The real me was just a girl who had a lot of dreams but gave up on it all to play the role that was set for me.
Only when I broke off that relationship did I start to remember who I really was and later on, I got a better job and was inspired to pursue my writing career.
Now, I’m married to a wonderful man and write for a living! If someone told me back then that that would happen, I would have laughed at them.
The mask I was wearing was so firmly attached to me that I forgot who I was. Could you imagine my delight when I realized that there was a girl with dreams behind all that nonsense?
The same awaits you, you just need to stop wearing a mask, and reconnect with your true self. Great things are going to happen to you, just like they did do me.
3. Have you dealt with anxiety or depression?
This was also a problem for me. When you’re not living your life as yourself, it’s not uncommon to experience anxiety, depression, or even both.
Those feelings are just your true self’s way of giving you a wake-up call that something isn’t right. Your true self is trying to get your attention and make you notice that you’ve lost your way.
I experienced anxiety every time I tried doing something that wasn’t in line with who I was. It only went away when I started being who I am at all times, and doing only what feels right for me.
I was depressed all those years when I was dating my ex and working at lousy jobs. It wasn’t who I was, who I am, or who I was meant to be but now that I’m always myself, I truly understand happiness.
If you’re afraid of the world’s reaction, let me just tell you that I have many friends now, while back then, I had almost none.
No one likes a person who pretends to be something they aren’t. When you are yourself, you glow with confidence, and people are attracted to that.
It’s what attracted my husband when he met me. I was done with wearing a mask and started our relationship as who I am.
He saw the real me and fell in love and I finally had the support I needed to live my life as myself.
It now seems like my life before was just a bad dream, and I woke up from it to discover it wasn’t me.
After all, the real me would have done things differently. I finally did, and I feel healthier than ever, and so can you!
4. Do you fail to experience joy?
How often do you really experience true, pure joy? You might not know this, but a lot of people don’t often experience joy.
We are too busy being stressed, offended, frustrated and angry, and too busy complaining. A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to live in joy because they’re too busy living behind their mask in the negativity.
When you connect with your true self, it’s easier to feel joy because you also feel the freedom of being yourself. It’s freeing to be yourself and not pretend for anyone. People will even respect you more, even if they don’t like you.
Your life will finally be yours, and you’ll start feeling the joy of getting to live it. All your decisions will come from your heart and mind, and not according to someone’s expectations.
5. Are you afraid to speak about important issues?
People who wear a mask don’t usually talk about their strong beliefs. Whether it’s religion, politics, or some other important issues, they stay silent.
Perhaps the reason you’re holding back is that you’re scared that it will cost you the validation and approval of others.
Don’t hold your beliefs in. Talk about them, and don’t be scared of the reactions of others.
6. Do you envy others?
Do you think that others have the freedom to be who they want and speak their mind? Maybe you notice that they have great jobs and happy relationships so you find yourself envying them, which shows that you’re wearing a mask.
You can have all those things you envy others for; all you need is to snap out of it and take off your mask.
Being yourself pays off in multiple ways, and it’s not that hard. You can live the life you’ve always dreamed of.
You’ll create that life once you’ve reconnected with your true self. But how to remove your mask? These are the steps you need to take.
1. Become aware of it
Awareness is very important when you want to become your true self. You probably haven’t thought for years about who you are and what you really want.
Make a choice to become aware of your mask and choose to take it off.
How to do that? Just be yourself.
Be you, even though that can be hard when you don’t even know who you are anymore.
You have a lot of labels, but none of them has to be you. Such a label can be wife, teacher, young, old, thin, employee, grumpy, mother… But they aren’t you.
Those labels just help you fit in a box.
2. Recognize that it’s not you
Pretending to be someone you’re not can be exhausting. You always have to think about what you’ll say or do that is appropriate to the role you are playing.
Be aware of your mask and the limitations it has. What do others expect from you when you wear your mask?
Start focusing on activities that aren’t about playing a role and instead, do things that bring you joy.
It could be something as simple as singing in the shower. Do fun things.
3. Realize that it’s not you
You need to realize that the mask isn’t you. It’s just an identity that you yourself created in order to keep yourself safe and protected.
It probably happened when you were much younger. Maybe you were the class clown just so you could avoid the bullies.
Don’t be embarrassed about your mask. It had a purpose, but it has served it, and now you need to be yourself again.
All that mask is doing now is preventing you from becoming who you’re meant to be. It’s time for you to become yourself again.
4. Commit to being your true self
There are many people who spend their whole lives pretending to be something they’re not.
You need to commit to being who you are. It may be hard at first because breaking the habit of playing a certain role isn’t easy so it takes commitment, but you can do it!
5. Take action
What steps do you need to take to become you again?
If it means saying, “No,” to the people who expect you to be a ;good girl’, then practice saying, “No,” to the small things.
You can even do an exercise with someone you know really well, to discover who you are without looking at your past. Take turns, and you have two minutes to talk about what brings you joy without talking about what you do or talking about the past.
A lot of people find out that they let their past and their work define them, while it’s not who they really are.
There are three things you’ll realize once you take off your mask and start being yourself. Here they are:
1. Nobody really cares that much
The world will not crumble, and this will be the first thing you’ll realize once you start being yourself.
Nothing awful is going to happen, and you’ll soon realize that. You are hiding yourself, but nobody really cares that much.
Just say enough, and start willingly letting your personality be seen. This will allow you to experience amazing things in life and you’ll even evolve as a person, both internally and in society.
I know that hiding yourself seems like an automatic response that your brain gives you, but your brain can be wrong!
2. You shouldn’t be somebody else
Strive to show who you really are, because you’re not supposed to be anybody else. You can imitate a lot of things that you see in the world, but there’s something nobody can do as well as you, and it’s being yourself.
Your life, your ideas, your experiences, your wonders, your actions, your worries, your objectives… It’s all yours and yours only.
No one can have that but you, so why don’t you take advantage of it?
The outside world can impact you in some ways, but the combination of everything that you have thought and been through can’t be found anywhere else. It’s only in your life, no one else’s.
That is what makes you unique and original, so why run away from it?
I know that it can be scary to show your true face because of the risk of getting hurt… And I won’t lie to you, sometimes you will feel bad.
However, you will feel great as well. You will get to experience joy much more often than you have until now and you’ll learn more and even become a better version of yourself.
Being yourself will allow you to find true love and friends, those who accept you for you are. It will do wonders for you.
Why would you deny yourself that opportunity? All you need to do is take off your mask and start living your life as yourself.
After all, no one else could live it the way you could, and it’s only yours. Let me remind you again that it’s what makes you different from anyone else in this world.
Even if someone hurts you, it’s worth it because the only way to find true love and true friends is to let them love you for who you are.
3. The tough times won’t be so bad
I won’t lie to you, life won’t be all flowers and butterflies so you’ll experience hurtful times without your mask.
However, you had tough times when you were wearing your mask as well and it’s harder to handle life’s difficulties when you’re wearing one.
By getting rid of it, you’ll have a lot of pleasant experiences. It will make you so positive that the tough times won’t be hard to handle and you’ll react to them with temporary sadness or disappointment, and that will be it.
Trust me on this, your true self is much better at everything than your fake self so your true self will be able to handle the tough times much better.
Your mask might fool you into thinking that your life is okay the way it is, but it isn’t. You are losing a lot, and what are you gaining? Only the things that your fake self wants, not the ones that you want.
Once you take off your mask, you’ll see that your life will be much better so don’t wait any longer and start being yourself! Good luck!