Little Voice Big Matter

How to Take off Your Mask and Reveal Your True Self

Do you ever feel like you have two different personas living inside of you?  The one you show to the world and your inner self that you seldom let come out from behind your mask?

Well, this Halloween, I challenge you to take off your mask.  Let your guard down and reveal your true self.  If only for a while….

Sounds frightening, huh?

Part of the reason why it feels scary to reveal your true self to others is because we’re taught from such a young age to show only a certain part of ourselves to the world.

We’re groomed to hide our emotions, in order to placate those around us.

When a child falls down and scrapes a knee, what is the first thing that is often told to that child?

“You’re fine”. 

We say “you’re fine” and tell him to get up and brush it off.

Child cries after falling down.

We are literally rushing to tell that child he’s fine before he realizes that maybe he’s not.

Don’t let him feel how he truly feels and show that to the world.  Don’t give him a chance to get emotional and cause a scene.  No, that would be embarrassing.  And then we’d have to deal with tears.

Why do we do that???

Perhaps he did not get hurt, but maybe the fall scared him and thus he feels upset.

Not fine.  

As children we are taught to filter our emotions and show only a certain persona to the world. No wonder as adults, so many of us have difficulty sharing how we truly feel, asking for what we really want, letting our inner selves be seen.

So how do we take off our masks and let ourselves be truly seen?

Find “your art” and do it without reservation.

If you’re lucky enough to find “your art”, meaning your outlet for letting your inner persona shine through, don’t worry about whether you’re good at it.  Just do it without reservation.

Writing is my art.

It is the thing that allows me to speak my truth.  Sometimes I don’t even know what my truth is until I start writing.  Then all of my inner thoughts, my emotions buried beneath expectations, obligations, and a lifetime of being groomed to act, think, and feel a certain way, start rising up.

And there I am, right there on the page, my true self.  

Am I a good writer?  That’s still up for debate.  But I’m not writing so that I can win an award or be praised.  I’m not writing so I can compare the end result with the successful authors and bloggers I admire.  I would never even put myself in the same sentence.  

I’m writing because it allows my inner self to come out and play for a bit.  Like you, I don’t always show this inner persona to the world either, but I recognize that she does need her spot in the sunlight every so often.  

I can’t always keep her hidden away behind the mask.

It could be something else for you like painting or sculpting or something that might not traditionally be thought of as art, like singing.  Do you think you’re a good singer?  Maybe not, but you should still sing your heart out regardless!

When you sit back and reflect on your life, are you going to wish you sang as well as Beyoncé or that you simply just sang more often because singing made you feel like you?  Okay, possibly both 🙂

Build your tribe

your true self

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just go out into the world every day as our true selves?  When a stranger greets you with a “how are you”, it would be astounding to say anything other than “fine, thanks.  How are you?” and further shocking to even expect to receive a response.  

Unfortunately, the checkout clerk at the grocery store or the random mom at the playground probably does not want to hear about how upset you’re feeling about the argument you had with your husband or that you’re feeling totally stressed out at work.

Obviously, we can’t go about our days pouring out our emotions to everyone we meet along the way.

“Normal” society does require us to keep our masks on much of the time, so it’s of the utmost importance that you find those people in your life to whom you can show your true self.

You may have a lot of friends, but still feel like you can’t be your true self around all of them.  We have different friends for different seasons and reasons and I think that’s totally okay.

I am someone who builds a tight tribe.  I definitely don’t have a ton of friends, I never have.  But the ones I have, I value greatly and I also realize that each person may serve a different role for me and vice versa.

I have those friends that I may call when I just want to let loose and have some fun; we keep it light.  Others who I know can always build me up with a pep talk when I’m needing encouragement.  And those in my life who truly see me and with whom I know I can be my true self, without hesitation.

It’s so important to have those in your tribe that allow you to be you and accept you for who you are.  And honestly, friendships can be hard, especially for women, so maybe you have not found your friend tribe.  That’s okay too, as long as you have those people in your life with whom you can take off your mask, like your spouse, sister, or mom.

Allow yourself to feel all the feels

I value the concept of finding happiness and joy in life, I mean so much of my blog surrounds this idea.  However, I don’t think that as human beings we’re meant to feel happy all of the time. 

Rather, we’re meant to feel everything, all of our emotions. That is being human. 

Our emotions are simply what we feel. It’s only when we bring in outside thoughts about these feelings that we assign them a positive or negative. 

Ironically, it’s those emotions that we deem as negative, and thus often try to avoid, that actually tell us something about ourselves that we can use to evolve and grow. 

If someone or something makes you angry, rather than push that emotion away because you’ve assigned it to the negative category, ask yourself what that anger is telling you about yourself. 

I believe that our purpose in this life is to be constantly evolving, constantly becoming.  You are always becoming the next truer version of yourself.  In order to become this next truer version, you need to feel all your feelings and grow from them, even the difficult ones. 

Related: “How Understanding Growth vs Fixed Mindset Can Transform Your Life”

If we never take off our masks and allow ourselves to be anything other than “fine”, we cannot evolve. 

Last, I want to leave you with this sentiment.

When you reveal your true self to other people, you increase the chance that they will do the same.

Wouldn’t it be exhilarating to meet each other in the real light of day?  No masks, no pretending, just real connection?  I think that’s what so many of us truly yearn for.

So, in the spirit of Halloween this week, rather than putting on a mask, find some ways to take off your mask and reveal your inner self.

I would love to hear how this goes for you. Let me know by commenting below.

take off your mask and reveal your true self

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