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Discovering the Person Behind the Mask

Living with Purpose… this theme of living one’s purpose is speaking loudly to me, and many others lately.

What is my purpose in life? Why am I here? What am I to do with my life?

A friend once wrote, "What if my purpose is to inspire people by simply being ME?!" This struck me deeply, as I feel I am often striving to be a certain way, say the ‘right’ things, or do what others expect of me.

For years I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. I wore a mask that became so integrated with who I thought I was, that I completely forgot the person behind the mask.

We all wear masks to some degree or another. Whether it is the mask of the clown, the victim, the martyr, the positive go-lucky, or the outspoken…. the list goes on. But what happens when we finally decide to remove the masks? What happens when we realize that these masks are what is actually holding us back from fulfilling our purpose?

As a child growing up in a dysfunctional family, you learn to pretend – a lot. You quickly realize that the outside world doesn’t talk about alcoholism, abuse, or mental illness. You learn at a very young age how to create masks to hide the truth of what’s happening within the home, and within yourself. You begin to associate yourself with shame and guilt, to conform to society’s expectations, and to lose parts of your self. Over time, the masks become such an integral part of what you present to the outside world, that the real YOU behind the mask is lost.

There is a great danger in masks… it not only hides our beauty and inner gifts from the world, but it also hides our pain, our vulnerabilities. You may think, well, that’s good, isn’t it? Then I won’t be hurt… then I am protected from judgment and ridicule. Yes, but by hiding our pain from others, we also restrict our opportunities for love, healing and receiving.

These masks build up a huge wall around us, keeping our secrets, pains and vulnerabilities in… but also keeping the love of others out.

When we begin to shed our masks, we open ourselves up to connection, to the ability to learn and grow through our relationships with others.

When we are able to let down our guard, to let others in, we welcome miracles into our lives.

We allow ourselves to be seen, in our rawness, our humanness, our imperfect perfection. Only then, can we truly connect with one another and with our most authentic self.

No masks. It can be a very scary, very lonely place to be at first… fully exposed for all to see.

There we stand, with all our faults, our insecurities, our secrets, our triggers… exposed. There we stand, with all our gifts, our passions, our talents, our compassion, our hearts… exposed.

Exposed and on purpose. In purpose. Authentic. Real. You!

Perhaps then, our purpose in this world is not about DOING anything.

It is, instead, about BEING ourselves, in all our nakedness.

It is about dropping the masks, getting real with who we are, and BEING the best human possible.

How do we do this?

It begins with being honest with our Selves.

We begin by observing our thoughts and our actions. We begin by bringing the subconscious to the conscious... the hidden to be revealed.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How often do I vocally agree to something that in my heart I disagree with?

  • How many times do I keep quiet when all I want to do is shout from the rooftops?

  • How often do I laugh, when I truly want to cry?

  • How many times have I said ‘yes’ when everything inside of me is saying ‘no’?

  • How often have I ignored that voice inside of me?

  • How many times have I allowed the opinions of others to stop me from doing what I know to be true?

  • In what ways have I lied to myself? About myself?

  • In what ways have I let ME become lost?

These are all questions we can ask ourselves every day… the answers will guide us back to our Selves, to our Souls, to our Truth.

When I tell people that I see depression as a gift, they look at me like I’m crazy. How can a struggle like depression be a gift? It is because I’ve come to realize that depression is my body’s way of telling me what my soul wants me to hear…. That I am lying to myself, that I am denying my Truth, that I am putting on the masks. When I am honest with myself, I am in balance. When I am dishonest with myself, I feel darkness invading. It is that simple.

How does your body tell you what your soul wants you to hear?

Today, I invite you to get real with YOU.

Who are YOU really?

Are you hiding behind masks, conforming to others expectations of who you should be?

Are you BEING on purpose, or are you DOING to make others love you?

Consider for a moment, that your purpose on this Earth isn’t to DO anything, but to BE the best possible person you can be… and by being YOU, the world will be a better place.

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