- Mental Health»
Behind the Mask - How To Find The Person Who You Truly Are
You wake up in the morning, stumble out of bed bleary eyed. Get to the bathroom or dressing table and robotically apply your make-up. It's become a daily ritual. You cover up the flaws, the blemishes, the dark circles under the eyes. You paint your skin with beige liquid and powder, dust your cheeks with splashes of pink, and glue your eyelashes with thick black liquid. You stare into the mirror, barely recognizing the person who's staring back at you.
Does this sound like you? I personally can't imagine going to work or setting foot outside of the house without a drop of make-up on.
Why is that though?
Are we ashamed of who we are? Are we trying to be someone "good enough" for everyone else out there? Do we do it to please our partners? Is it what's expected of us?
Putting aside the physical aspect, how else do we hide who we truly are every day? I'm a different person at work, than to what I am at home with my husband or close friends.
Why are we like this? Do we build up walls to protect ourselves and not let other people see who we truly are, or are we being the type of person that we're simply expected to be?
It must become quite exhausting. Having to put on your mask every day, to be someone that isn't really you, and then come home again and wipe off the mask - only to repeat the same ritual again the next day.
For me personally, it's hard to change who I am in the workplace. I've always been the "good girl" from my early school days. I almost never did anything wrong, and when I did - it was received with absolute shock and horror from teachers, my parents and even a few employers. What was wrong with me? I'm supposed to set an example, to be someone that others can look up to, I was told. Talk about pressure.
One day stands out and I'll never forget it. I was about 13 years old. I was a prefect in primary school and I'd forgotten to do my Science homework. I was singled out in front of the whole class, and called into a detention to complete the assignment. My friends were shocked, the teacher couldn't understand what was happening, and I was left feeling humiliated and feeling rather "stupid". Looking back today though, I almost want to laugh about the whole event. That was me, behind the mask - just being a normal teenage girl who really wasn't interested in learning about nitrogen or liquids and gasses. I just wanted to draw. It probably wasn't a good idea to do this and get caught out in Biology class either - but, hey - I was a typical teenager, just hiding behind my mask.
Peeling or Ripping Off The Mask
This year a lot has changed for me. I've decided to start living in the moment more, to not take life so seriously and to really enjoy the beauty of the world we live in. I go for a walk in the nature reserve or walk on the beach instead of spending the afternoon watching mind-numbing reality TV shows like I used to. I've realized what I want to do with my life, and am working towards making this dream happen - regardless of those few that painstakingly try to poke holes in my dream because they're angry with their own lives.
I've realized that life is just too damn short to care what other people think about you. Why would you want to live your life to make other people happy by being who they expect you to be?
Your life is YOUR own, no one elses.
I'm a good girl, sure. But I like to wear purple nail-polish too. I also like to go dancing until 3am occasionally. I like to let loose and have fun once in a while and not be the person that a lot of people expect me to be - the real me has been hidden for far too long now.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that YOU decide when and how you want to get rid of the mask. Do you want to peel it off layer by layer, or do you want to rip it off in one quick motion like a band aid?
This year (2012), I've decided I'm going to remove my mask - layer by layer. I've started doing this at work. Slowly letting down a few of my walls and letting my true personality come out. Making an inappropriate joke, having an out-of-character comment - just being me, but in small doses. It's not easy after years and years of being who people expect you to be. And, a part of that is really me. But that's not all of me, and I no longer choose to be only that. If other people don't like it, then that's their problem.
Helpful Tips to Discovering the Real YOU
Take Your Time
When you discover the truth about who you really are, don't be afraid and don't think that you need to act on it right then and there. Take your time. You decide when you're ready to start being who you really are, even if it's only a little at a time, in a few years time, or not at all. The decision is yours alone.
Stop, Breathe, Relax
When you're in a situation and you are automatically about to react or act the way you normally would, but you know that's not who you are - not who you want to be. Stop. Breathe. Relax. Think. How would the real you handle this situation? How do you WANT to handle the situation? For me, it's a daily practice. I used to stress about the smallest of things and get into a panic very quickly. Now, I take my time and react the way I want to react - calmly. If things aren't perfect, then they're just not perfect. Life's too short to worry about silly things like perfection.
Heart vs Head
On many occasions we need to make decisions based on what our head is telling us. For example, we may decide to take that boring office job because it pays more, and it's expected as opposed to working part time, earning a bit less and following a true passion. Of course there are things to weigh up and consider with your head, but don't let that be your deciding factor. Life is short, let your heart lead and the rest will follow.
Let Nature Guide You
This is my number one tip. If you're feeling lost, and you don't know who you are or where you're going, what you're meant to be doing with your life - get lost in nature. When we went on holiday earlier this year, we spent a lot of time walking in forests. For me, this was my eye-opening moment. I felt connected to the trees in a weird way, I was in awe of how green the leaves were, the clear sounds I could hear of frogs and birds, and how the earth smelled. I knew then that what I was doing wasn't where I saw my life going. I glanced into my future, saw what I wanted - a dream I'd had for months, and decided that in order to fulfil that dream, I needed a PLAN OF ACTION. Whether you're on the beach by yourself, walking through a forest or nature reserve, or even outside in your garden, let yourself imagine what you want to become. Free your mind and realize that things are possible. You just need a dream and a plan of action to get there.
More Hubs on Finding Happiness
- How to Stay Positive around Negative People
How do you deal with negative people if you're generally a positive person? What about if you've recently decided to change your outlook on life, but still have to deal with people in your life that are bringing you down?
- An Easy Guide to Meditating
Most people have the wrong impression of what meditation is all about. I'll admit that I too, was one of those people. I thought meditating was for the birds - for the wanna be hippies, yoga fanatics and people who had all the free time in the world.