There are very few times every year that it is appropriate to wear a mask on your face. Halloween is certainly the most obvious time to do so but there are other times that are more rare. Movie actors. Clowns. Hockey Goalies. Maybe you've never been a clown but have you ever worn a mask?
Strangely, most of us are guilty of wearing masks in our daily life and work. Caution! What I'm talking about here is commonly a "blind spot" for us so be careful not to dismiss it too quickly. It is something we do but don't always realize we're doing it. The masks I'm talking about here are those moments or ways that we are not acting like our "true self."
How often do you remain silent when your spirit within you is screaming out for help? Have you ever served someone so much that it was detrimental to your personal health? How many years have you wanted to say something about a situation but remained silent? How many opportunities have you missed because of the fears and insecurities that make you say "no" to those invitations?
In my life, the answer to all those questions has been "too often" and "too many times." For most of my adult life, I have refrained from speaking my mind. I have resisted help from other people. I have hidden my true feelings from even those closest to me. I have been too afraid to admit that I need something because I didn't want to be a burden. Instead of saying "yes" to a new opportunity, I found ten reasons why I should say "no."
The mask I have been guilty of wearing is the "everything-is-going-great-I-don't-need-help-but-may-I-help-you mask?" This sometimes looks like a humble, servant leadership approach (and sometimes it is). But other times it was a lack of healthy boundaries in my life. It was a lack of ensuring I am healthy and well so that I can be more effective at helping others achieve their goals. When I am stressed and anxious, I reduce my ability to truly help others.
So what can be done? I believe the key is transparency and a respect for ourselves and for truth. Show people the "real you." Tell others how you really feel, what you really want and what your real needs are. Don't be fake. Don't be afraid of the truth. It is the truth that sets us free. Now...will the REAL YOU, please step forward?