We all wear masks. In a way, the best part about Halloween is that everyone knows it. You know it; others know it. Essentially you’re being honest with others, and they’re being honest with you. Also, because you know it, you’re being honest with yourself.
A costume is also a type of mask. A cop wears a uniform to assert an aura of authority. We dress for success to present a sense of business savvy. Similarly, we put on shorts and flip-flops to convey a sense of play.
There’s nothing wrong with dressing the part. We wouldn’t wear a suit to the beach. Likewise, a uniformed cop might be more effective than a plainclothes one. Yet, it can be a real problem when we create an image to mask who we really are.
For example, when we have a job we don’t like. Sure, we can keep a stiff upper lip. Still, we pay a price in our peace of mind.
Maybe you’re in the family business, and have do as they do, whether you like it or not. What toll does that take on you?
The thing is that when you’re not being your authentic Self, you’re shortchanging yourself. You’re so focused on keeping up appearances, you’re not all that aware of what’s really going on. That’s even more a problem when you don’t know you’re doing it. Then, you’re causing internal conflicts that can sap your strength.
So, how do we know when we’re not being ourselves? Mostly, when we feel anxiety. That’s a signal letting us know something’s amiss.
You need to ask why it’s happening. “Is it me, or not me?” If it’s not you, then you should likely walk away. If it’s you, then you should look into it. So you can drop the mask, and enjoy your life.
And that’s the hard part. Because the mind’s a marvelous and equally elusive thing. There’s a lot we know, and a lot we don’t know. There’s a lot we don’t need to know, and a lot we should.
Sorting it all out is something we feel we should be able to do alone. But that’s a task few can do. And there’s no shame in it.
Better to work things through and have a satisfying life, than to suffer in silence. Or let it all spill out, and end up feeling worse.
It’ll take a while puzzle it all out. But it’s worth the effort. You’ll feel better about life, and better about yourself. And that’s priceless.
Then, you’ll have a happy Halloween, without sadness or regret.
As a licensed mental health professional, trained psychotherapist and experienced therapist, I can help you learn effective tools and skills for obstacles that life throws your way. Contact me to start the process of freeing yourself and starting living the life you want – I would love to help.
David Kach, Psychotherapy
Life can be better than you think.