What’s The Mask You’re Wearing?

I tend to pay attention when themes come up in my coaching sessions with clients. Most recently there have been several conversations around the “masks” we wear.

For example, you might wear a certain mask when you’re with family—not letting them know how you really prefer to raise your children. Or you might wear a mask with friends for fear of them learning how overwhelmed you really are with life. And the one I deal with most often—the mask you wear in the workplace. This one allows you to play the game, live up to (perceived) expectations, and most importantly—not let anyone see who you really are.

In my coaching, the masks that clients talk about are pretty big and definitely get in their way of fully being who they are.

Posing as someone else takes work

It takes a lot of energy to wear a mask; to be someone you’re not. One of my clients felt compelled to put on her mask every time she walked through the door of her large organization. She revealed to me that she worked hard every day to keep the mask on and keep co-workers at a distance due to her deep fear of being “found out.” Found out that she wasn’t as great of a mother as everyone thought she was, found out that she didn’t feel as confident as people thought, found out that she struggled with food addictions, and so on.

My heart aches when I hear this. Because each person is always doing the very best they can. And if you think they’re not, think again. My client is doing her absolute best in each moment. That, in itself, makes the world sing. We’re all doing our best and have so much to offer by being ourselves.

We put these masks on to show that we’re stronger, more confident, a better parent, smarter employee, more “together,” etc. We fear that we’re not ‘enough’ as we are; that we are lacking something. But in reality, we are all amazing…if we only let ourselves shine and not pretend to be something else.

Being all of who you are

It’s okay. Be precisely who you are. In fact, when you’re not being “you,” you shortchange the world.

Unsure how to articulate who you are? Then please take some time to read this post because it’s imperative that you begin the journey to get clear on this one.

We’re all human. So, first before our roles/titles/jobs, etc., we are people. We all have lights to shine. What if we could go to work every day and live in the world around us, being all of who we are…without apology? Wouldn’t we all be more relaxed and under less pressure to “perform”?

Take some time now to ponder these questions:

–What are the various masks you wear and what purpose do they serve?

–Where are you not being yourself?

–How could being ‘who you are’ bring you greater joy?

The key to following your joy is being who you are.


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5 Responses to “What’s The Mask You’re Wearing?”

  • Beautiful, Michelle! I remember wearing that mask to work myself. I remember noticing how all the women – hundreds of them – at my workplace seemed to all know the “right” clothes/colors/patterns to wear and all seemed stick-thin. It was like working with zombies! And, looking back, I realize many or most of them probably were wearing their masks, too. I wonder what would happen if they all just wore to work whatever reflected their spirits – would i have then seen jeans, flowing skirts, beads, sparkles? Thanks for this reminder!

  • Anna says:

    As I was reading this, I began to think about the view from inside the mask.

    When we wear our masks, who we really are is diminished. We feel less valued than others.

    We see others with their masks on & start believing their masks, that they are better people than we are. We push our selves down so far & deep that it seems impossible to climb out of the pit to reach our true selves.

    However when we catch a glimpse of the light at the top, it makes the climb out seem much easier. As we get closer to our true selves as God created us, our light starts shining from inside and soon we discover that we can take our masks off!

    How much easier would life be without the masks?? How about relationships??

    Great post Michelle!

  • Mark says:

    I can’t tell you what a joy it is to receive your updates and this one was particularly pertinent.

    When I read this post, I realized something new about me. I don’t wear masks anymore. Well, maybe in awkward social situations or other unique circumstances. But I don’t wear them in everyday life like I used to. I really like myself and want to share my authentic self with others. I LOVE it when they feel comfortable enough to do the same with me. And can’t we all tell when people are being authentic? I don’t know when I got the courage to take off the masks and deal with the consequences, but it feels good to have a name for it.

    We need more ‘Bringers of Joy’ in this world.

  • @ Liv: Hi! You bring up a great point about how all those women were probably wearing their ‘masks,’ too. It seems that there is a big force, externally, which encourages us to play the game, fit in, etc. I feel it often, and felt a little “victory” recently when I chose to wear jeans to a funeral. I felt more like “me” in those jeans and it’s what I needed to do. It was still tough when I saw others in dresses and suits, but more importantly, it felt good that I left the mask at home. Thanks for joining in the conversation and for your thought-provoking comment.

    @ Anna: Fantastic insight! You are so right about how we diminish who we are when we wear those masks…and how we also feel less valued. I never thought about how we actually “believe” the masks that we see others wear. Yes, we begin to believe in a story about others that is untrue. Love your idea about our lights shining through, which makes the masks completely unnecessary! We all must focus on our lights and letting them shine. Thanks, Anna!

    @ Mark: Wow, what a triumph for you to be at a point in your life to be able to say that you don’t wear masks anymore! It takes much awareness, insight, and trust in oneself to be at the point in life where you are. Congratulations! And you are right–we can always tell when others are being authentic. It is particularly those types of people that I am drawn to and that I want to be around. Those in your circle are blessed to have you in their presence! Thank you for sharing the good news with us and many blessings to you. :)

  • […] Be okay with who you are.  BE with that.  BE with you.  Embrace what is already there, perhaps tucked away in the recesses of your heart.  […]

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
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Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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