As we move into the last few weeks of 2020 it has certainly been a time of seeing many different masks being worn, from delightful handmade ones, some covered in sequins, the NHS style and even clear acrylic ones!
These masks are being worn to help protect others and yourself from the pandemic of Covid-19 and when you get back home after being out in public it is definitely a relief to take them off – to be able to relax and breathe more easily.
Yet, we all wear other types of masks on a daily basis – they can hide many emotional and mental fears, pain, anxieties and insecurities to name a few and sometimes a person can forget to take the mask off!
Many of us wear masks that are fairly transparent and can easily be removed when we are with people that we feel safe and comfortable with. At times a person will wear a professional mask which is healthy and appropriate to the situation. One certainly would not expect to hear about a doctor’s or a dentist’s personal life problems when you’ve booked an appointment for yourself.
Maybe you can remember a time when you were feeling low and out of sorts and somebody asked you how you were and even though you wanted to, and perhaps needed to say this, the timing was not right and you replied with a smile that all was well and you held in those upset emotions behind the mask of a smile.
How about when a mother has had a long, hard and stressful day at work and then puts on a huge smile to greet her children from school, completely hiding how she really feels as she listens to her children’s day’s activities and then heads off to start to prepare dinner for all of the family. She may feel it is not the right time to take off her mask and for some people the mask never comes off!
What about a father who puts in long hours at a job he hates – saying yes to any overtime that may be offered. Inside he is worried about being able to pay the mortgage, the bills and keeping his family in the best lifestyle possible. Maybe, he is not even able to share his concerns with his wife.
There are so many different types of masks that a person can wear or you may even think of them as a persona.
Here are a few that you may recognise:
The Humourist Mask:
Humour can be a great defence mechanism. By telling jokes to avoid sincere discussions enables the Humourist to keep conversations from getting too real or deep and having to deal with any uncomfortable conflict. The jokes and comedy serve as protective shield and doesn’t allow anyone in or to get close; often this mask, when used with sarcasm, has deep rooted pain and loneliness even if the person is in a relationship.
The Overachiever Mask:
This mask enables a person, often unconsciously, to pursue perfection as a defence against being annihilated. They believe if everything is done just right, then their world cannot be smashed into tiny pieces and fall apart.
While receiving praise for being a perfectionist can provide some relief, it leaves them in fear of things going wrong and they then live in constant worry and anxiety of what may happen in the future.
The Cool Guy/Gal Mask:
With this mask the person will appear cool and calm on the surface, seemingly unaffected by any chaos or conflict that goes on around them. However, beneath the surface out of sight from others they have bottled up emotions which play havoc with their health. They will often find a small amount of relief by snapping at people who are not close to them – like a shop assistant for being slow while handling their purchases. The anger can build up like a pressure cooker and in some cases result in a nervous breakdown or becoming angry over what would normally be a trivial incident.
The People Pleaser Mask:
This person will go to desperate lengths to get the approval of those around him or her, because their sense of identity is largely based on what others think of them. They will always ask the advice from friends, doctors, co-workers and even strangers as they do not have a strong foundation to believe in their own self-worth which makes them an easy target for other controlling people and are easily influenced which may not be in their best interests.
The Control Freak:
The control freak uses order and power to achieve a sense of security. By making sure everything is in its proper place to relieve their fear of the unknown and uncertainty. Even a mother hen could be a control freak not letting anyone out of her sight, and assuming responsibility for all those around her, even when they don’t want to be cared for. An owner of a business always interfering with the roles of their staff, believing they can always do it better and when the control freak gets pulled away from a plan, they fall to pieces, losing the structure of their life.
They are many more different types of mask that people wear including the Martyr, the Bully and the mask where somebody will insult and put them-selves down first, believing that if they do it first then nobody can then hurt them and this then stops them from being able to have intimate relationships with others.
Can you think of any other masks people wear to hide behind?
Wearing a mask can be both positive and negative, when wearing one in the positive it can help bring out an inner strength, help to create boundaries in different social settings etc. Yet, when you are continuously hiding your true self behind a variety of different disguises this is unhealthy for you not just on a physical level, but mentally and emotionally as well. Trapped negative mental thoughts and emotions leads to stress and anxiety which, in time, leads to physical illnesses.
One can change their masks so habitually that they do not consciously notice that they are doing it, this can be very draining to their vitality and keep them stuck in the past over childhood wounds, sadness and depression or anger.
You were not born with masks – You put them on, so you can take them off!
By identifying your protective masks/shields, you can begin to heal from past hurts and enjoy deeper intimacy with your loved ones, enabling you to live your life to your full potential. This in turn brings you the feeling of relief that you are now able to really be you!
When you remove the masks that no longer serve you for your highest good – then healing can begin, you will be much happier and have less inner conflict. Be able to make better decisions and have more self-control in your life, be able to resist social pressure and have more tolerance and understanding of others.
Over the past 25 years with all the healing work that I have done helping others it has been my experience that when a person accepts and appreciates who they truly are then as well as being able to fully love themselves again, their lives begin to transform helping them to enjoy each day with more vitality and pleasure in a life that is more authentic, balanced and exciting.