Who the hell are you? Are you for real? That’s the message I got when I had forgotten my twitter password for the umpteenth time. And it got me thinking (something I have been known to do on occasions). Do we really know who we are?
Next time you pass by a mirror, just stay there for a while and look at the person staring back at you. Is that you or an image of you? This is how you present yourself to the world and yet does your inner self match your outer self?
Once upon a long time ago, there was a man who liked to fool around and play jokes on everyone. He used to put on an extraordinary mask that spanned an array of emotions from laughing and crying to grimacing. He took great pleasure in playing the fool and frightening everyone. Some people laughed at his antics, some people cried. All he cared about was the adrenalin rush and excitement that their reactions gave him.
He used to pop his mask on a few times a week, but as his need for excitement grew, he would wear the mask every day until he was wearing it all the time, even sleeping in it. He wandered around for years behind the mask until one day, he felt strange. He felt cut off from himself, isolated and realized that something was missing.
The next day he bumped into a lovely lady and it was love at first sight. But when he reached out to her, she screamed and ran away, frightened by his weird and shocking mask.
‘Stop’ he cried,’ this isn’t me!’ And he desperately tried to wrench the mask from his face. But he could not remove it because it was him. The mask was stuck to his face, it had become his face.
He tried to tell others the dreadful thing that had happened to him but no one was interested in listening because they had all done the exact same thing as him. They were all wearing masks, all playing at being people they were not.
Who are you? Are you wearing a mask?
There are times in our lives when we might put on a mask to stop our true selves from being seen. We do this out of a fear that if people really knew us they would not like us. We have a real fear of being exposed for the charlatan we think we are. But it is a great emotional burden pretending to be someone we are not. It is a very tiring and draining experience. How long has it been since you looked inside to experience your real self?
When I did my training to be a psychotherapist I had to have my own therapy and I remember this question. Who are you? I answered that I was a mother. Rap on the knuckles, Carole, that is not who you are that is what you do. Very often we cannot answer the question who the hell are you? Because we do not know.
Our real selves has been squashed and taken over by our false selves. It is up to us to redress the balance.
Do you spend much of your time putting other’s needs before your own?
Are you very conscious of your appearance? Do you hate your job? Do you ever do anything that you really want to do?
You may have put on a mask to protect yourself at some stage in your life but is it really necessary anymore? The mask has done its’ job and now it is only a barrier to your future happiness.
10 ways to step out from behind the mask
- Cut the crap of pretending to others that you are happy when you are not
- If you are in an unhappy relationship, either seek counseling or leave
- If you hate your job, start looking for a new one or re skill in a new area
- Delegate chores or work to others when you are overwhelmed
- Learn to say No frequently
- Stop being Mr. or Mrs. nice guy
- Stop rescuing others, try rescuing yourself first
- Take a risk and let others see the real you, if they don’t like it, tough
- Take time out to meditate or take a yoga class
- If all else fails, see a psychotherapist
About the Author:
Carole Lyden is a psychotherapist and writer living in Perth, Western Australia. PsycheBuzz is a website that will help you: Feel more positive about yourself. Add depth and meaning to your life. Enrich and empower your life. Attempt to ease your mental distress. Please join me there.
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