I love masks both as decorative pieces and as props to be used in a drama but what happens if they’re used in day to day life?
Many of us wear masks during the course of our day. Perhaps we’re dealing with something difficult at home but we have to ‘put on a face’ to the public. We might be customer-facing or just feel that we want to keep our home life to ourselves and not let anyone else get a hint of what’s really going on. And that’s ok for a while.
It’s a mode of self-preservation that potentially enables us to forget about what’s really going on in our lives. It allows us to ‘Act as If’ as many coaches encourage you to do when you’re trying to make changes in your life. And that in itself is a healthy way to use a mask. Imagine you want to conquer a fear of public speaking, you want to appear confident and calm rather than trembling from head to toe when you face your audience. Creating a ‘mask’ so you act as if you really are confident and calm will help you to actually become confident and calm. Over time, that will become your default response to doing something that used to scare you.
But what happens when the mask is used to hide something and you’re consciously aware that you’re putting on the mask?
Recently I heard that someone I had known in business for many years had died by suicide. No-one would have known that this person was hiding such feelings. Outwardly they were friendly, supportive and happy. They appeared to have everything to live for and indeed, had had a string of recent business successes. It transpires they were battling with major demons and their mental health was in a poor way.
Many of us will relate to that. I know I can. I was fortunate that I was able to pull away my mask and show my reality before it took me over the edge but it might not have been that way.
Taking off the mask is scary, it’s showing the world you at your most vulnerable, but if you are able to do that, you will become stronger and more confident and won’t need the mask any more.
Brene Brown writes a lot on the subject of vulnerability and I’d highly recommend reading The Gifts of Imperfection or any of her books if you want to remove your mask in privacy before showing your true face to the World.
It takes courage to truly step out of the wings into your spotlight but if you can take off your mask you’ll soon feel the warmth of your spotlight and learn the pleasure that can come from creating your blockbuster life.