“How hurtful it can be to deny one’s true self and live a life of lies just to appease others.” – June Ahern
For most of my life I felt that I needed to hide certain parts of myself because when I was transparent with who I was parts of me were either not good enough, judged unfairly or didn’t fit into someone else’s box. And because I so badly wanted to be loved and accepted, I tucked away those pieces that made me, ME and molded myself into the person others wanted me to be. The sad part is sometimes that wasn’t even good enough.
I spent over thirty years wearing different masks just to win the approval of family, friends and lovers never once taking into account the one and only person who mattered, me. Don’t get me wrong there are a handful of people in my life that I have been able to be my true authentic self with and those are the people who have been my saving grace.
Why is it that we think so less of ourselves and are willing to hide the parts of us that make us shine? I’ll tell you why, it’s fear of judgment, the fear of not being liked or loved, it’s the fear of not belonging and it’s the fear of being alone. In the end, we feel that we need to protect our weaknesses and vulnerability from emotional assault.
“Masks make shallow what God has intended to be deep…Everything in our lives get cheated when we choose to hide ourselves behind our masks.”
The more we hide behind these masks the further away we are from becoming who we were meant to become, the many masks we choose to wear only dull our shine.
Years ago, I came across a quote by poet E. E. Cummings, “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.” and it really resonated deep within my soul. I was forty-one when I made the decision to remove all the masks and finally be me. I had lost trust and lacked confidence within myself because I spent too many years allowing others to determine who I should be and honestly, I didn’t like that person. Plus, it was exhausting and emotionally draining.
Let me tell you what I discovered once I removed every single mask, FREEDOM. I realized my true strength, I learned to put up boundaries and most importantly I rediscovered myself. Sure, it wasn’t a speedy process but self discovery and healing is meant to be taken at a slow pace but you know what, I savored every flipping moment.