Have you ever wished you could hide? From life, from work, from the stress of all the things you need to do?
You are not alone. Many of us use a “mask” as a coping technique. We hide behind our phones to avoid eye contact, we remove ourselves from social events or smile and feign enthusiasm, so others won’t know we’d rather be anywhere but where we are.
We use these when we are fearful. We might name drop or pretend we know more than we do when dealing with insecurity. A bully uses the mask intimidation because they aren’t confident of their own power. We live beyond our means to mask feelings of inferiority or to keep up with our peers. We wear a smile when our personal life is crumbling. Or we tell our loved ones that work is great when we are afraid our job is being eliminated.
What masks do you wear?
Many of us, women in particular, deal with imposter syndrome; the fear that the world will find out we don’t belong. Even the most successful people run into this now and then. We feel like a fake, or like we don’t belong, and we’re terrified that somehow we’ll be found out as a fraud.
Except, it’s not true! It’s a fear that comes from comparison or feelings of low self-esteem. It often pops up when we are looking to advance or just after a big step forward like writing a book or starting a business. We’re all in and then doubt pops up — we start wondering if we can really do it. Maybe the book was a fluke, maybe it’s terrible.
Often, we’re afraid that if we show our true selves, the world will shrug and not notice us at all. We teach our children that doing their best and showing up confident in who they are is enough. Isn’t it enough for you too?
Shed the mask.
Live up to your potential by honoring the real you. No one else has the exact talents, skills, personality, and creativity that you have. There isn’t another person who can be you.
It’s exhausting trying to be someone else or something we’re not. And it’s unfulfilling. Even if you have some success you often can’t enjoy it because the “real” you can’t take credit.
When we wear a mask, we withhold a part of ourselves as unworthy. But we can’t heal relationships or feel worthy until we are willing to be our real selves. That’s when we can embrace and appreciate who we really are.
No one was born with a mask. Part of the reason children are so accepting when they are young is because they don’t fear letting people see the real them. They don’t know how to be anyone else!
Why are you hiding?
Be honest. Often the cause is related to a story or narrative we’ve told ourselves for years that’s not truthful. What story are you holding onto? What would happen if you decided to put it down. Take it off, and walk away?
The main risk is the reactions of others, but you know what? They often see through the mask and are waiting for us to show up as ourselves. We all have the power to make changes in our life.
It starts with a simple step.
Hold out the real you and let the world see you. Share your gifts with no apology or shame or regrets. Life will embrace you when you let it in.