Personally, I’m not a big Halloween fan. Yes, I’m one of those. ~smile~ But, I do think little kids, and some adults, look adorable in their Halloween costumes. If I was better with a needle and thread, I might make some fun costumes for myself and the pup. Ramsey (our golden retriever) is thrilled that I lack such a skill!
Dressing up is fun when it’s for a short season, but many of us wear masks year-round.
Are you Wearing a Mask?
Think about it. Do you go out into the world sporting your authentic self, or do you try to suppress the real you by painting over parts of your personality? Do you choose your “look” based on who you will see that day?
When you go to work, do you pretend to be all business because you think it’s what your boss requires, or do you let your warm, creative side show?
When you hang out with your friends, do you laugh at jokes you don’t find funny? Do you go along with plans you don’t like or spend money you should be saving just to fit into the crowd? Or, do you politely speak up when something is bothering you? Are you happy to pick up and go home if you are uncomfortable with a situation?
At night, when you put your head to your pillow, do you feel the satisfaction of knowing that the world saw the real you that day – the you God created you to be – or do you feel as though you played a character in a show?
Why are You Wearing a Mask?
If you have determined that you do hide behind masks (and many of us do), the next logical question is, ”Why?”
Are you afraid of what will happen if people see the real you in action? Will they find me boring? Unintelligent? Incapable? A Goody Two-Shoes? A screw-up?
We wear masks because we are insecure about showing our authentic “faces.” With a mask, we can be anyone we want to be. We can make the rules. We can have the upper-hand. And when one mask no longer suits us (or doesn’t hide us nearly as well), we can pick a different mask.
Discover Who is Really Hiding Behind the Mask
If I were being honest with you all, I would have to admit that I’m a bit of a Goody Two-Shoes. Though I was far from perfect in my younger days (and today), I still worried a lot about breaking rules and getting into trouble. I was not a risk taker. I was sheltered. People joked about my “goodness,” and one friend even predicted that I would go hog wild in college.
Though adults find “good girls” to be precious (seriously, we do!), peers find “good girls” to be objects of ridicule. Sadly, many young people equate a little rebellion with being hot and desirable. Though I didn’t want to risk getting into any real trouble, I tried to appear at least somewhat cool and “with it.”
How did I accomplish this? I laughed at inappropriate jokes. I sought to hang out with older kids. I tried to grow up too fast and dive into situations that were beyond my years. Even when I knew my behavior was wrong, the temptation to fit in seduced me.
After I grew up, I realized the people I had tried so hard to impress really weren’t worth the effort. We are all adults now and success is not measured by who looks “cool” anymore. Who is making a difference in the world? Who is realizing their dreams? Who has a thriving family? These are the people adults find “cool.”
If you’ve been hiding behind a mask for years, it may be a challenge to find out who is really under there; but, the discovery is worth the effort. God designed you meticulously and specifically; so, when you try to be someone you are not, you will never feel completely congruent. Something will always seem out of place in your life, even if you cannot put your finger on it.
Come face-to-face with you – warts and all. You will succeed more when you surrender to your true self than if you keep trying to be someone God never intended you to be.
Take Steps to Let the Real You Shine
Start finding the real you today:
- Start noticing your actions when you are around others. How do they compare to how you act when you’re alone? Are you making compromises to fit in to the crowd?
- Take note of your likes and dislikes. Even consider starting a journal. When you discover something you love, write it down. When you find something that repulses you, write it down too. Admit to it, on paper, so you are less likely to pretend to like it later. “You want to grab a cup of coffee?” “No thanks. I’m not a big coffee fan. But, I’d love to join you for a soda!”
- List occasions when you acted in a manner that did not feel right to you. “When I’m with my work friends, I tend to speak negatively about the boss behind his back. I don’t really want to, but everyone else is doing it. I usually feel pretty disgusted after I do.” When I go out with my friends I try to act wild and loud because they do, but honestly I’d rather be quiet and enjoy a meal in a calm restaurant. Do you tend to put a mask on with the same people every time, or do you find that you wear a different mask to match every occasion?
- Each time you make a discovery, be determined to peel back the mask. “I realize that every time I am around the new guy at work I start acting giggly and flirtatious. That’s not really me. When I am around him tomorrow, I will do my best to let my true self shine. If he is not interested, he’s not interested. I wouldn’t want to marry someone who doesn’t want the real me anyway. What a long life that would be!”
- Be patient with yourself. If you have been hiding behind masks for years, you won’t break the habit overnight. Keep plugging along and ask God to help you become the person He designed.
Dress Up as the Real You Today
Today, while everyone else is dressing up as someone they are not, dress up as the real you – whatever that means. Be who God created you to be, and don’t be ashamed. Look people in their eyes. Speak confidently.
You won’t discover all the unique qualities that make you who you are in one day, so keep searching. Be completely honest with yourself about what you like and what you don’t like. If something is trendy, but you don’t really like it, don’t fake it just to blend in to the crowd.
If you don’t like coffee, that’s okay. Just because myself and thousands of others cannot relate does not mean you should pretend. ~wink~
Happy “Be Yourself” Day! Tear off the mask and be free!
Are you tired of wearing a mask?
On my birthday, August 30th, I took a big step forward in removing my masks. I started a personal blog called Heather’s Hundred. The purpose of the blog is to share my journey in losing 100 pounds before my next birthday. Hopefully, along the way, I’ll encourage others and be encouraged by others! If you’d like to join those of us over there, you can find us at heathershundred.com. See you there!