Do you ever feel like you are wearing a mask? Or that sometimes you forget to put the right mask on in public and become self-conscious when people give you funny looks?
People can become confused or flustered because they momentarily forgot they were supposed to be wearing their ‘work’ mask and they accidently slipped on their ‘friend’ mask or their ‘rebel’ mask. A different attitude, a different language starts coming out of their mouth. Suddenly, co-workers are raising their eyebrows, looking at them like, ‘Who is this person?’ Then they freeze like a deer caught in the headlights, quickly slide their ‘work’ face back on and pretend like nothing just happened.
It always cracks me up when I see this play out. I can laugh now, because I’ve taken the time to integrate my personality into one whole, congruent identity. But there was a time when I had multiple masks of my own – a different face for every occasion. I had three different ‘work’ faces (one for each type of job), a ‘friend’ face, several different ‘relationship’ faces, a ‘family’ face, an ‘art’ face, a ‘dance’ face and a private ‘only-when-I-am-completely-alone’ face.
Somewhere along my own evolutionary journey, I began to notice myself putting on these various masks as I transitioned from one role to another in my daily life. I’d find myself speaking to a friend in one tone of voice, the phone would ring and I’d hear myself respond to my boyfriend in an entirely different tone. ‘Hang on, Jenn, let me get this. “Hello… Oh, hi! I’m so glad you called.”’. I could practically feel the new mask slip into place.
What I really yearned for was inner peace. The only times I’d truly felt at peace inside were when I’d been completely authentic. As soon as I began cultivating authenticity, my awareness of all of my masks – my various sub-personalities – came rushing to the forefront of my consciousness. If I wanted peace, those masks needed to come off. Then came the challenge of integrating all of the various characters of my personality into my true authentic self-expression.
If you are ready for inner peace, looking at the various parts of your personality is a simple, straightforward way to begin. You can start by exploring the personality traits you see as composing your main personality, or the face you show the world when you are out in public, at work or wanting to be viewed at your best.
Your main personality will have traits and characteristics that you feel good about or that you think others like. Behaviors of your main personality will be socially acceptable, if you are a social person. If you are a rebel, your main personality would reflect whatever your fellow rebels would find acceptable. If you are living your life desiring approval and Loving from a source outside of yourself, your behaviors will reflect this desire. Your main personality will usually include all parts of yourself that have received approval or praise from parents, teachers, bosses or friends over the years.
My main personality – the face I showed the world – included traits such as kindness, politeness, caring, good-humor, helpfulness, good grooming, the ability to follow rules, inflexibility, narrow-mindedness, politically-correctness, good listening skills and mild creativity. My main feelings when I acted ‘good’ were feelings of safety, security, fakeness, stiffness, falseness, lacking guts, weakness, fear, stupidity, neediness, resentment toward myself, and so forth. My main patterns of behavior included over-working, over-helping, people-pleasing, co-dependency, over-responsibility, perfectionism and criticism towards others who were not doing it ‘right’. My major motivations for my behavior included wanting to be liked, needing to be seen as ‘good’, seeking approval, avoiding punishment, avoiding shame or embarrassment and wanting to fit in.
What are some of the personality traits and characteristics that make up your main personality? What are the main feelings this part of you emotes? What are the main patterns of behaviors? What are some of the major motivations for these behaviors? I encourage you to write them down.
The more information I gathered about each part of my personality and my consciousness, the easier it was for me shed light on my old patterns of unhealthy behavior, identify my irrational beliefs and clear all of my self-judgment. Exploring my public image was liberating. I encourage you to look deeply at yourself, knowing that the peace and the freedom living in authenticity is well-worth the investment of time and energy. Say, “I am now freely exploring my main personality – the face I most frequently show the world.”
Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom
Action Step ~ Explore your main personality thoroughly, noting character traits, main feelings, main patterns of behavior and underlying motivations for your behavior.
Declaration: “I am now identifying and exploring my main personality – the part of myself I’ve judged as ‘good’ or find socially acceptable. I am now liberating myself from any masks and moving into authentic self-expression.”