“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and fully embracing who we really are.
Choosing authenticity means one cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.” Brene Brown. So what do we mean by your mask has no face behind it?
Often times people wear masks in order to cover up their fears and vulnerabilities or the weakness they perceive about themselves. The amount of energy this “playacting” takes can feel incredibly draining. Sometimes we cover up our ‘true self’ so well and for so long that we begin to forget where we end and where our masks begin.
We totally lose our sense of self in favor of our masks(fronts).
When we grow up with any sort of trauma, especially in childhood, it can affect how we feel about ourselves.
How About an Example?
For example, if a parent is struggling in some way and they cannot take proper care of us and provide the loving attunement we require especially emotionally, we will tend to look at our parent in the following way; “If they are not okay, then I am not okay. In order for my parent to keep me alive, He/She has to be ‘okay’. If they are not, I will die because they will not be able to care for me. Therefore, I will make myself the ‘bad/wrong one’ so that my parent can be ‘perfect’ and okay’ and keep me alive.” This is a sub-conscious dialogue to one’s self. We are not aware of this thought process.
How do Children Handle This?
Children internalize the dysfunction and make themselves defective. They then look at themselves as never being good enough, never doing enough and often times may become “Care Taker” type personalities. They believe that the more they serve or do for other people, then they will be accepted and they just might feel ‘good enough’ about themselves.
Or, they become cold and aloof, terrified of letting anybody see their vulnerability in great fear that if their ‘true self’ was seen, they would be shamed and abandoned.
We will go to great lengths to keep the most authentic parts of us hidden far from view and possible ridicule from others.
If we were bullied as a child at all or had a parent who was incredibly shaming or even simply placed way too much responsibility on us way too early, these things can and do greatly affect the way in which we feel about ourselves and our ability to show up authentically to the world.
The thought of putting our self in a place where others can see our most sensitive and true nature can cause anxiety and fear. It is important to only share our deepest vulnerabilities with people who have earned our deepest trust. With them, we can fully share our feelings and experiences without fear of retribution or shaming. They support us with empathy and care.
The goal would be to get to the point where we accept our self to the point that other people’s opinion of us doesn’t affect us because we love and accept our selves fully.
When we can be brave enough to sit in Vulnerability with ourselves and even another person who has earned our trust and faith, then we can begin to realize that being our authentic self, is one the most calm and freeing feelings available to us.
Where Can I get Help to Remove my Mask?
It is my incredible honor to be able to help guide my clients in removing their masks and fully being with their authentic self and sharing that part of them with the world. Please check out Psychotherapy with Shelley for more information!