TOP TEN TIPS FOR TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE - TIP 7
We have all worn masks of one form or another for a multitude of reasons. These aren’t Halloween masks that I’m talking about. These are the figurative masks, or let’s say roles that we play in our lives. This is common, however, there are also masks that we wear to hide our true selves and this can become a problem. Growing up we are told who we are supposed to be in order to be accepted by our parents, our teachers, our peers and our culture as a whole. If we did not conform to these social norms, we were judged, shamed, made fun of, shunned, put down and in the worse cases rejected by the people who were supposed to love and protect us. To avoid rejection, ridicule and the potential for love to be taken away from us, we put on masks that did not always honor our true selves.
WHY WE HIDE BEHIND MASKS
A mask that is a form of protection is worn not only to hide who we really are, it may also be worn it to make us look better to other people. The major emotion that keeps us hiding behind these masks is often fear, and fear is a horrible master that causes all kinds of problems in our lives including anxiety, health problems, depression, insecurity, anger, bitterness and worst of all the denial of our soul’s true calling.
As both Libby McAvoy and I have written before, we all come into this world with a purpose. Fulfilling this purpose is the calling of our souls. This is where our big dreams come from. When we put up appearances that are not really us, we run the risk of not serving our calling because we are too busy living a life that others expect us to live. This often causes a whole lot of suffering whether we are conscious of it or not. For example, I have known people who hate their jobs and I have seen the toll that it took upon their health and on their happiness. Instead of pursuing their dreams, they took a “safe” job to please their parents or others. They were possibly wearing the mask of The Compliant Son/Daughter or The Good Provider and it hurt them. Life can certainly pull us in many directions and create all kinds of pressure for us to be a certain way. At the end of the day, however, the fact is that WE have to live OUR lives and we deserve to live them on our own terms even if it means making less money.
I have also known people who felt trapped and miserable within relationships where their partner did not honor their hopes and their dreams. They reluctantly wore The Happy mask to keep up appearances when they were actually feeling sad, lonely and frustrated. This situation can literally be crushing to the soul and yet the pressure to stay in that relationship is what kept them trapped. It’s very challenging to live life with passion when you are disrespected and put down on a regular basis and it is unhealthy. Continuing to wear the masks of The Good Wife or The Good Husband should be based on each person honoring their partner fully with love and respect.
THE MASK OF MASCULINITY
Lewis Howes' latest book, “The Mask of Masculinity” quickly became a best seller after its release in the fall of 2017. One of the reasons for its incredible success is the fact that more and more people are realizing that there must be more to life than what they’ve been programmed to believe. In this book, Lewis breaks down nine masks that men commonly wear and why they wear them. Among his findings he identified such masks as The Stoic, The Athlete and The Alpha to name a few. So why is this important? By identifying these masks we all can become aware of why men wear them and how they impact us.
Through awareness we can tear down our defenses and courageously choose to become our authentic selves. When we play these other roles we expend a lot of energy making sure that no one discovers that we feel like imposters. We can also chose to no longer deny the one thing that really makes us human and that is the fact that we are emotional beings.
Do you wonder why men typically live fewer years than women. One of the reasons why is that the anger and the sadness that we have been taught to stuff down eventually become toxic to our bodies. In some instances this can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer. In addition, men who have difficulties communicating their emotions often have troubled marriages. To all of you guys reading this, showing your emotions is a healthy part of being you. Do not deny your feelings. Don’t let them build up until you erupt with rage or come down with a life threatening disease. You deserve better!
THE MASK OF FEMININITY
Women wear masks just as much as men do. Remember, these mask represent roles that people play in life. I asked Libby to name a few of the masks that she has experienced and off the top of her head she mentioned; The Good Mother, The Perfect Wife, The Happy/Funny all of the Time Woman, The Super Volunteer and The Over Achieving Executive.
I’m curious, what other masks do you think that women wear? Please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
Last week my daughter brought up how women are pressured to become mothers, and that not all women desire to give birth. This is a huge expectation and a major source of stress and sadness for some. Why do we put these pressures upon others to become something that they do not want to become? This is like forcing them to wear masks that do not fit. In addition, not all men want to have children either. It should be up to each couple to decide what is best for them. On the other side of this are the moms, dads or partners who feel looked down upon for choosing to stay at home to raise their children instead of climbing the corporate ladder. Once again, couples need to do what works best for their family situation. Let's let go of judgement and allow people to remove their masks so that they can authentically live their lives and pursue their true passions free from fear.
Thankfully we are coming into a new era where people are waking up and realizing that these masks and social constructs were all created by people. Unlike the laws of nature, we can change them. By becoming conscious of the masks that we wear, we can choose to cast off the ones that no longer serve us. When we have the awareness and the courage to wholeheartedly become our true selves, everything changes. Life begins to flow and we feel an enormous weight lifted from our shoulders. It’s time to create a better world by allowing ourselves to become who we were born to be.
5 TIPS FOR BECOMING YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF:
1. Practice awareness and be honest with yourself.
2. Identify and write down the masks that you no longer want to wear.
3. Accept your true self without judgement.
4. Forgive yourself completely. You wore these masks to protect yourself and that’s Ok. It’s time, however, to move on without them.
5. Practice “I am…” daily. Look at yourself in a mirror and complete this sentence honoring who you really are. “I am smart.” “I am strong.” “I am love and I am loved.” Libby mentioned this exercise in a previous post because it is a powerful tool for transforming our thoughts about ourselves.
VULNERABILITY IS A GOOD THING
Over the years I have removed the masks that no longer serve my greatest good. As a result I’ve come to value my emotions and how they serve me. I also appreciate the power that comes from vulnerability. This has greatly increase my emotional intelligence and helped me to have deeper relationships with others and with myself. Total Soulful Journey is all about living our best lives, which requires that we get real with ourselves. This takes practice, courage and persistence, but it is essential for our transformation. Without authenticity it is difficult to honor the calling of our souls and to fully live a passion driven life. Dare to take off the masks that no longer serve you and allow the real you to be seen by the world. You will be amazed by the peace, the love, the passion and the satisfaction that will flow into your life once you discover who you really are and start living in your authentic power!.
All the best,
Next on up on the blog:
LET GO OF WHAT NO LONGER SERVES YOUR HIGHEST GOOD
Here's a reminder of what we are covering in this 10 part series:
Top Ten Tips for Transforming Your Life
7 Take the masks off and be authentic (vulnerability is a good thing)
8 Let go of what no longer serves your highest good
9 Practice gratitude
10 Trust the Universe