Have you ever been talking to someone and sensed they were going through the motions and not being authentic? Maybe even a part of you wanted to say “hey…are you in there?”
Most of the time, the person is unaware they are not fully present. The truth is, it can be challenging to be in a real world, fit in and please people. People can appear to be on autopilot to be socially accepted…hoping to get the relationship, job, and friends to feel better.
The truth is, everyone wears different masks at different times. In fact, it’s normal to do this some of the time. But the goal over time is to reduce the frequency of grabbing the usual mask out of the closet of your psyche to protect yourself.
What might help you with either your own use of masks, or when communicating with someone you sense is being inauthentic, is knowing the reasons why people use them to help you understand and find a compassionate response to them.
Masks are all lined with fear and serve the purpose of creating safety. This habit or behavior begins early in life. What happened to them when they expressed honest feelings and thoughts as a child is directly connected to survival and safety at a young age. Depending on the level of fear for either a parent or a caretaker, children brilliantly learn what mask to put on to survive… to get their needs met. And the odds are high the parents also modeled this behavior.
The mask has many potential messages: Like me…Love me… Take care of me… You have something I need and I don’t know how to meet those needs on my own….I’m scared….I might hurt you if I’m honest.
Here are a few tips to help you keep it real more often:
1) Get a buddy that you love and trust to help you keep it real. Sometimes just calling to chat with this friend and acknowledging that you’re rehearsing some inauthentic story to tell someone will help you recognize the pattern so you can pivot and respond in a more authentic way.
2) Begin to look more intimately at your innermost needs when you find yourself being inauthentic. Does your inner child need to feel safe? Loved? Spend time either journaling or nurturing yourself to create stronger inner parenting and a new level of self-acceptance.
3) Find the courage within to begin saying no (or yes) to things that matter. When you begin speaking your hearts truest desires your inner child will learn that it is safe to speak your truth. You’ve got more strength within than you realize.
4) Be gentle with yourself when you notice you’re not being real. See it for what it is. Take several deep breaths and focus on getting grounded. Give yourself permission to speak authentically.
Beginning to believe that you have everything within you to take care of your needs is a great place to start communicate from a safe, heart centered place more frequently.
It is safe to be real. The real you is amazing, perfect and beautiful.