Are You Hiding Behind a Mask?

The truth is, we all wear masks in life. Masks allow us to protect ourselves, and not just from COVID-19! Masks allow us to decide which parts of ourselves we want to show and which parts we want to keep hidden. We all have different reasons for hiding our authentic self. For me personally, I wore a mask because I wanted to be liked by everyone, even by people I didn’t like. I was deathly afraid of rejection and abandonment. I wore a mask for so many years that I didn’t even realize I was wearing a mask anymore. I was totally confused about who I truly was.

So, how do you know if you’re wearing a mask? Here are 5 clues:

  1. You hide your true opinions, emotions, and intentions because you want the approval and acceptance of others.
  2. You’re not asking for what you want and need, out of fear of rejection.
  3. You change how you talk and act based on who is around.
  4. You say yes and agree to things that don’t feel right to you.
  5. You are confused about who you are and what you want.

 5 Common Masks:

  1. The Mask of Perfection:
  • Are you someone who strives for perfection at all cost?
  • Do you try to make it seem like your life is perfect, even when it’s not?
  • Do you see anything less than perfect as failure?
  • Do you fear people seeing your flaws and imperfections?
  • Are you always pushing yourself past your limits, pressuring yourself to meet higher and higher standards and expectations?
  1. The Mask of Toughness
  • Do you act strong, even in moments of weakness?
  • Do you hide your struggles and insecurities?
  • Do you avoid asking for help even when you really need it?
  • Do you suppress your emotions (i.e. never cry or show fear)
  • Do you treat your body like a machine, ignoring pain and problems? 
  1. The Mask of Superiority
  • Do you tell “white lies” to impress others?
  • Do you make your achievements and accomplishments known to everyone?
  • Do you put on a show for others and act like you’ve always got it all together?
  • Do you try to hide shortcomings or failures?
  • Do you put other people down and diminish their successes?
  1. The Mask of Selflessness
  • Do you try to make everyone happy at the expense of your own wants/needs?
  • Do people say you’re too nice?
  • Do you want to be liked and accepted by everyone?
  • Are you concerned with everyone’s opinion of you? For example, do you replay conversations in your head, wondering what other people are thinking of you?
  • Do you say yes way more than you should?
  1. The Mask of Negativity
  • Do you act grumpy even when you’re in a good mood?
  • Do you complain incessantly even when things are going smoothly?
  • Do you judge others negatively and put them down?
  • Do you show anger instead of showing other emotions (i.e. sadness, fear)
  • Do you act like you don’t care about anyone or anything?

 

Some people are not sure what mask they are wearing or why, but when it comes down to it, there is only one real reason people wear masks: FEAR!  You may believe that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness and that exposing your authentic self puts you at risk of being hurt, or worse. But, when you’re wearing a mask, you are not real. You. Are. Not. Real. When you’re not real, you can’t connect with anyone other than from your false self and this is exactly what robs you of the love and connection you desire and deserve.