The Mask


 

 

The Mask 

  Emotional Armor

      ←  Our shadow



   


Don't be fooled by me. Don't be fooled by the face I wear. I wear a thousand masks, masks that I'm afraid to take off, and none of them I.

I give the impression that I ‘m secure, that all is sunny and unruffled within as well as without; that confidence is my name and coolness is my game; that the water's calm and I need no one. But, don't believe me! PLEASE!

My surface may seem smooth, but my surface is a mask. Beneath dwells the real me: confusion, fear, lonely. But I hide this. I panic at the thought of my weakness and frantically create a mask to hide behind, to shield me from the glance that knows. Yet such a glance is precisely my salvation. I know it! If it's followed by acceptance and by love, it is the only thing that will assure myself that I am worth something! But I don't tell you this. I don't dare, I am afraid to! So I play my game, my desperate game with a facade of assurance without, and a trembling child within.

So begins the parade of masks, and my life becomes a front! I idly chatter to you...surface and top-of-the-head talk, saying nothing of what's crying within me. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying, what I'd like to be able to say, what for survival I need to say, but what I cannot say! I don't like hiding, honestly. I want too genuine, spontaneous, and me...but I need help!

Please hold out your hand, even when it seems that it's the last thing I want. Each time you are kind, gentle, and encouraging, each time you try to understand me because you care, my heart soars with small and feeble wings, but they're wings. Your sensitivity, sympathy, and your power of understanding breathe life in me. Your help gives me the help I need to be the creator of the person that is I. You can help me break down the walls and strip away the mask and my shadow world of panic, uncertainty, and loneliness. Don't give up on me. I may fight against the very help I need, but I really want your gentle hands of love and caring...firm, but gentle hands.


        

Are You Wearing a Mask that Dims Your Light?


Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” - Oscar Wilde 

What is the inner light? We know it when we see it in others – a genuine sense of happiness and joy, enthusiasm that emanates, confidence in one’s unique expression. We feel drawn to people who naturally glow because they reflect the potential for our own inner light to shine.

And we all have that inner light. Within each of us is the capacity to be fully alive, to be infinitely creative, to radiate openness, availability, and love, to look forward with great interest to whatever the next moment brings. We can know ourselves as this light, but sometimes we get in our own way.

We unknowingly enact strategies and defenses that leave us hanging back in the shadows rather than allowing our gifts to shine. We lose our way and forget who we are.

Is it time to come out of hiding? Are you ripe for liberating your luminous, true, unobstructed self?

We dim our lights by taking on identities that mask our full potential. See if any of these sound familiar, and experiment with letting them be. Stop diminishing yourself. Pretend you are who you really are, and watch the masks fall away.


People Pleasing


Some of us betray ourselves by the need to seek approval from others. We don’t feel worthy of love on our own merits, so we morph ourselves – our precious lives – to conform to others’ expectations instead. We find ourselves in jobs and relationships that are a clear mismatch out of our need to be accepted. We abandon our happiness to keep the peace.

Do you want your light to shine? Stand in your own truth. Fess up to what you want, and risk the disapproval of those around you. Keep it simple, and stay close to what fires you up. You may not please everyone, but you can’t imagine how the possibilities for your life will open up once you decide to align yourself with the truth.


Victim Mentality


If we blame others for our problems, we are denying ourselves the clarity and groundedness that are rightfully ours. While we are stuck in a grudge or waiting for others to change, we passively let the moments of our lives tick away. “Poor me” just doesn’t cut it if we want to shine.

Instead of torturing yourself with endless stories of what should or shouldn’t have happened, use your most precious resource, your attention, to explore those places inside yourself that you have been avoiding. Be supremely kind as you open to painful feelings. Make the decision to take responsibility for your well being. Do this work no matter what it takes, and you will be surprised at how much positive energy is revealed as the mask of victimhood falls away.


Self-Criticism


Maybe you have convinced yourself that you are not good enough. Whatever form self-judgment takes, it keeps us boxed in and limited. Every time our inner light tries to glow, our minds react like a sledgehammer, with harsh thoughts that inhibit us from moving forward. How can we possibly express ourselves fully when we are shot down every step of the way by our own minds?

The inner critic is a jumble of thoughts that are propelled by fear. Learn to identify the fear, then look beneath it to discover your natural resilience, every time. Find the courage to let your whole self shine.


Neediness


Some of us live in a state of lack. We think we need what we don’t have – a relationship, a quality, a life circumstance – and we spend our time looking outward for fulfillment. This is an “if only” life, and it ignores the treasures that are already here.

Take an honest look at this very moment. If you stop buying into stories that run in your mind, is there anything missing? The universe is so abundant, giving us exactly what we need. When we realize the peace that comes from wanting what we are given, we surrender our ideas of lack, making space for our natural selves to shine.

When we recognize how we hold ourselves back, we have stepped onto the path that takes us back to ourselves. No matter how you feel in this moment, your inner light is shining. Pull away the veils, and let your whole self light up the world.


What holds you back? What has happened in your life when you let your light shine?



 "Masked" 


"At times I hide behind a mask, disguising who I am and the frailties that I possess. But then the voice of my spirit emerges and reminds me that we all fall short of perfection. And that those who appear perfect are wearing a mask as well. So, instead of hiding, I am prompted to embrace my imperfections with love and with this inner shift of self acceptance, a radiance shines forth  surpassing any physical adornment  I could ever possibly hide behind".  


In modern society, we have learned to hide ourselves behind social masks of what we consider to be correct behavior.


We constantly ignore what we are feeling or thinking in order to receive the approval of those around us.

We pretend all the time in order to be accepted by others, but the irony is that we all do exactly the same thing - everyone else is pretending too. We think we are doing a great job of convincing everyone that “I really like you - you’re great” while at the same time we are thinking, I hate her so much! I never want to see her again! In reality, we’re not fooling anyone - they can all see through our act because they play the same roles themselves!


        


It takes courage to put down your masks, but surprisingly, when you finally do so, you will receive more approval than ever before, because you will be approving of yourself.


One of the pitfalls on the path of self-realization is the adoption of a “spiritual” mask that replaces the old masks we have learned from society. We get caught up in the intellectual idea of how a spiritual person is meant to look, and we create a spiritual ego. Then, because of our outer appearance, our eating habits, our long hours of practice, or our many followers, we consider ourselves to be in a place of enlightenment, when in fact we are not. We create a new box of ideas and rules about how we are supposed to behave, based on the very teachings that were designed to break our boxes! Absolute completion, or enlightenment, doesn’t have a box. It is unlimited totality — it just keeps expanding and expanding, eternally.

Our masks make us feel safe and comfortable, but comfort is one of the greatest causes of our discontent. We think our masks and the comfort they bring make us happy, but in reality they cause us to stop growing as individuals, leaving us stifled and dissatisfied. Our masks make us rigid and static. They suck the spontaneity, flexibility, and growth out of life.


 Next page: Emotional Armor

the mask we wear

 

 

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