Can you believe it? Asking my clients to share their thoughts on wearing a mask to their psychotherapy session is the ‘new normal’ . Yes, it’s the year 2020 and we are all wearing masks.
Throughout the years I have spent a lot of time with clients in the therapy room, exploring subconscious reasons for and ways to gradually but effectively remove or lower the ‘mask’ one wears.
The impending risk of dropping our ‘facade’ or removing our ‘mask’ can often be unfounded and later replaced with many positive incentives. However, this year due to Covid19, wearing a mask could be the deciding factor between being heathy or becoming unwell.
In the same vein, dropping our psychological ‘mask’ could be the deciding factor between keeping our relationships with others on a superficial level or allowing them to become more real, fulfilling and emotionally rewarding.
I am now aware that one of the most common reason for wearing such a mask is because we are often in fear of rejection. And it’s this fear that keeps us in ‘mask’ mode. We secretly believe that if we open up to others and expose our vulnerabilities, the real version of ourselves, they will reject us. Possibly lose respect for us or eventually unwittingly humiliate us.
The reality though, is mostly different and might even be quite surprising. During therapy with clients, I have found that it’s we that unconsciously rejects ourselves for who we really are and therefore project a false ‘presentation of self’ towards others.
Let what I just said *sink in*.
To further exacerbated this false notion, our internal self-critic (mostly the punitive parent) constantly knock us down and instigate to completely hide our true selves. This internalised behaviour grows more deep seated roots especially when we have learnt this through traumatic experiences. I am telling you, a trip to the ‘unconscious’ can be one heck of a ride. But the self awareness treats one finds are delectables for your self development.
The objective here is to uncover the capacity to lower our inner critical voice, as only then we can allow ourselves to truly shine through – flaws and all. Scars and all.
Such process can be insightful and rewardingly rich as most times than not, others in our lives are voraciously craving our authenticity and genuine qualities. Being our authentic selves enables us to foster stronger relationships with indepth connections. By being transparent and demonstrating willingness to engage at that deeper level can be the catalyst for a greater understanding of oneself and others.
Interesting isn’t it?
Also think of the convoluted mental conflicts one can experience from keeping up their facade. Having to continually put on a ‘show’ to present ourselves to others in an inauthentic way. This way of ‘being’ can sometimes even leads to anxiety and depression.
No brownie points here for me, but what I have also learnt over the years, is that facades are merely projections of the person we would like to be. They allow us to navigate our lives and our relationships in a way that protects us from becoming vulnerable and act as coping mechanisms.
There are no doubts that we ‘as people’ are multi-faceted beings. Hence, different circumstances and relationships will require different roles of us, but the predicament of such internal dilemmas only raise its ugly head when we inevitably forget we are playing a role and let our ‘mask’ slip.
I guess, it goes without saying that there is hope. There is always hope if you look for it. Within therapy we can start extending empathy to ourselves. Delicately challenge those foreboding fears and begin to facilitate our journey towards self-actualisation – becoming more in alignment with the person we desire to be. Ultimately, rendering the need for wearing one’s ‘mask’ a redundant act and a thing of our past.