How we want people to see us

Posted by Karen Degen on 22nd November 2015

Tags: being yourself, mask, playing a role

Nearly all of us wear masks.The mask differs depending on who we are with because of what we perceive they want to see. Most people have a mask (or persona) that shows them to be happy and confident.  Some of the people who seem the happiest are just playing the role they think their audience wants, and can actually be depressed.  It takes a lot of energy to play that role.  Energy that could be better spent in other areas of your life.  One of the things I help my clients with is being able to take off their masks and be completely themselves.  This can take a bit of work because I need to get people to love and accept themselves as they are first.  When we love and accept ourselves as we are we don’t need that acceptance from others.  When we feel we are good enough as we are we are no longer impacted by the judgement of others.

Occasionally I come across a different type of mask.  A sad mask.  Consider the situation where someone has lost a loved one to death.  We think that ‘Society’ expects us to grieve.  Perhaps our grief is processed fairly fast, but we feel we can’t show that we are over it just yet.  What would people think if they saw us happy?  They might thing we didn’t care.  We create rules in our head about how long we ‘should’ grieve for.

I asked a client of mine whether she gave herself permission to be 100% happy now.  She realised that she didn’t, and recalled being told by a counsellor that it can take five years to get over the suicide of a loved one.  That ‘five years’ stuck in her subconscious mind.   She was not at that five year mark yet, so was not allowing herself to be happy.

We create ‘rules’ in our head about how we are supposed to be.  These self imposed rules stop us being ourselves and stop us being happy.  Happy people don’t wear masks.  Happy people have found a way of feeling good about themselves no matter what.  If you need help with feeling that way, or with being completely and genuinely you, I’m here to guide you there.