It has probably occurred to you already that you wear different ’masks’ or personas in your life. BUT, if you haven’t done a recent inventory, you might be surprised to learn that you have an extensive ‘collection’ of masks that together represents an entire spectrum of human emotion. From vulnerability to ferocious courage, your collection includes a mask connected to every emotion and fear you have – and every nuance in-between.
According to your instincts, before you even formulate a conscious thought about what you perceive to be happening around you, you instinctively reach for and assume the most appropriate mask. Most fundamentally, your collection of ‘masks’ exists to protect you and keep you feeling safe.
It is part of modern civilised western culture for people to be ‘socialised’ and for better or worse, this process begins essentially as soon as you are born. As an adult who is expected to function effectively in mainstream society, you are a part of the collective consciousness that influences you more than you are generally aware. If you consider yourself an independent thinker, you might even find yourself resisting this notion at first but on closer examination, it is apparent in what you think you think, to how you live and what you wear. And of course, the intensity of this societal influence varies depending on your connectedness with your authentic self, self-awareness and inner needs.
For argument sake, do you for example, move in or around social circles in which an inordinate amount of emphasis is placed on physical appearance and beauty? Where you socialise, live, exercise, pamper yourself, shop, vacation and work? What you drive and wear? At the expense of authentic human connection and communication, this sort emphasis on how you look is just one facet of the attention of others who have some sort of investment or interest in the ‘outer’ you – or the various public masks that you wear.
Sadly however, when you subscribe exclusively to these, and indeed, many external yardsticks, the mask or version of yourself you show up as in the world can prevent you from accessing your spiritual essence…your REAL self.
Unquestioningly conforming to the expectations of others, affects your ability to access your own personal pace, desires, needs and soul-level truth.
The influence of others on you to conform to their accepted norms and mores, whether subtly through the collective consciousness or overtly in spoken communication in social circles or groups, is nothing less than peer pressure. Peer pressure exists in all age groups and so profound can be the effect of it, that it becomes easy for you to lose touch with who you really are.
Why even as intelligent adults, does peer pressure exist?
It is a fundamental human need that you were born seeking validation. Acknowledgement or lack of acknowledgement of the fact that you exist, matter, are seen, heard and entitled to take up space here on earth actually affects the vigour with which you are able to survive. And so strong is this innate need, that it can become the driving force behind many of the things you do in your unconscious search for recognition that you are in fact important.
The piece that often gets missed however, is that this fundamental human need cannot actually be met by seeking the approval of others on a conditional, unconscious, ‘hit and miss’ basis.
It can only be met when you to learn how to love and validate yourself.
Your awareness and conscious commitment to the fulfilment of your deepest emotional needs underpins the very strength of your relationship with yourself.
If you do not know who you are, you will not have a solid, conscious foundation upon which to build the types of relationships and experiences that honour and celebrate the REAL you.
Can you think back to a time in your search for external validation when you presented a version of yourself that was not actually the REAL you?
If you can, chances are that it is pretty easy to see retrospectively how you set yourself up for experiences and relationships that did not speak to your authentic nature, real deep-seated needs and truth. This can be frustrating not only because you instinctively feel like an integral part of you is getting missed in the relationships and situations around you, but because on a very fundamental level you are out of touch with your deepest needs and who you ARE.
We often hear it said that we teach others how to treat us by the way in which we treat ourselves.
Being out of alignment with who you really are causes you to live, act and respond to life with a self-awareness that is a dilute version of your true inner beauty, magnificence, wisdom and gifts. When you greet life from this place that does not – and cannot – allow the real you to be appreciated, nurtured, seen and held, it creates the inner feeling of dissatisfaction and sadness because instinctively, you know that your inner and outer lives are not aligned.
Unwittingly selling out on who you are and the love, respect, nurturance and validation you deserve is the ultimate betrayal that creates a soul-level pain.
But all is not lost, it this very soul-level pain that serves as the inner compass that can guide you away from the perceived need for surface-level acceptance back to an inherent understanding of the much more powerful and vast brilliance that you, first and foremost as a Spirit are.
Your spiritual nature is who you REALLY are.
This is where your wisdom lies. Making sure that your most fundamental soul-level desires and needs are taken care of polishes up the facets of the inner gem that is the real you. From this place of self-awareness and self-care, it is easy to see how an emphasis on social status, belongings, physical beauty etc, inadvertently invites those on the outside to overlook the real you.
In this situation, upping your self-love quotient, will literally change your life. More importantly, it will enable you to reclaim your energy from the collective consciousness that you previously relinquished in your inadvertent bid for societal validation and approval. And as you reclaim this, – your essence – you will begin to feel into the truth of who you really ARE.
This is YOU – the only real constant in your life.
And you must know that built into this deep inner call to become your REAL self, are the courage and resources you need in order that you can do it.
It is so important you recognise on the conscious journey back to your real self, the intricate balance between the importance and true place of interpersonal relationships, networking and community in your life. Honouring your true self does not have to mean alienating others. Rather it means realising that you can ‘re-frame’ your perspective and relationship to your life in a way that places your inherent wisdom, gifts and need to speak/act/live your truth at the top of your personal priority list.
In the long run, taking care of and loving yourself, far from the social conditioning that might frown on the idea as selfish, actually makes you happier and able to share the best of yourself with consciousness, balance and ease. This is precisely the strategy that will enable you to move organically away from the relationships and situations that do not serve you, towards more like-minded community that can see and celebrate the real you.
The moment in which you embrace yourself where you are, just as you are with consciousness and love, can be a scary moment. And the reason is not just because you find yourself standing alone with no one really but yourself to rely on. It is also because you instinctively know, you are standing in the place of authentic personal power for which you have unwittingly been searching for so long.