What do you accept about yourself? What do you obsess about when it comes to how you see yourself? I sometimes hear patients saying things like: “I’m a worrier, my mother is a worrier and her mother was a worrier” or “I don’t want to rock the boat, I don’t like confrontation”.
It’s funny how we justify our beliefs and behaviours to ourselves or to others. How we see ourselves isn’t necessarily the way we really are.
Most of us (if not all) learn to wear a mask and a costume at an early age. This is laid out for us in both the subtle and unsubtle ways we were treated and related to as children.
We may live with thoughts, feelings and beliefs we “should” have rather than those of our authentic Self.
The mask and costume grow out of our defences, struggling to be accepted and loved, we try to fit in.
These masks and costumes that we wear may have been helpful in childhood but they often go on to hinder one’s social and personal development and ultimately, health.
As children we have learned to distort ourselves in order to get our needs met. If we don’t examine this as adults, we will continue on this path.
This distortion binds us physically and emotionally.settling in the tissues of the body including the nervous system.
Stress isn’t something that happens to us. It is rather what we feel. When we are feeling high levels of stress (like right now with the global situation) we may actually start feeling that our mask and costume are holding us back. We may feel that that distortion is being amplified. We may feel a great emotional and physical intensity.
Psychologists say that it’s normal that during times of crisis or even during a happy time like the birth of a child, a marriage or a promotion, we will have our truest emotions and our most original thoughts surface. Rather than thinking and feeling what’s expected of us, we have an opportunity to accept our truest experience and live life instead of just surviving it.
There’s the life of the actor (mask and costume) and then there’s the genuine life. Up to this point in my life, I’ve been discovering my mask and costume as well as learning to be genuine, the real McCoy. Which one do you want to live? How can you use the current crisis to fully accept your own genuine thoughts and feelings and rise to a new level of engagement with life? This crisis can be our opportunity to find our truest selves.