The masks we wear: 5 ways writing can take us beneath our masks to our truer self
When you have the tendency to be a people-pleaser, you shift your personality to match others in the room.
Performing this chameleon act on a regular basis gets you out of touch with yourself. It may take some work to know your own personal opinions, much less express them.
How do you truly feel about xyz? What do you really think?
2. Affirming your truth
When you lack confidence, you may look to others to give you the answers. You may create masks to make yourself look more confident than you really feel. Yet under this mask is a simmering fear of your doubts and uncertainties being seen.
Affirming your truth means to recognize and accept your own beliefs and experiences as valid. It’s a form of self-validation that builds healthy self-confidence and resilience. You don’t need to puff yourself up or overextend yourself trying to be heard.
Instead, you start with recognizing that your feelings are valid.
Articulating your beliefs in written words gives your truth a solid feeling. It’s no longer just in your head. This lets you have dignity and strength in your choices and decisions.
3. Writing about what truly matters to you
When you are used to defining yourself by other people, you may find yourself straying into their causes. Parroting their beliefs, because it’s easier and less scary than standing for your own.
Your mask hides who you really are.
Writing a mission statement, identifying a purpose, telling your story about what you’ve learned and how you’ve surmounted obstacles… these are all ways to feed and fulfill yourself. The more you tap into a mission and a purpose, the more satisfying life becomes.
4. Expressing your vulnerabilities
When you are uncomfortable with the idea of being imperfect, you likely try to appear flawless. You put on a mask of perfection, a hard plastic veneer that covers up your pores.
None of us is perfect. When we can embrace ourselves, flaws and all, we feel more whole. The masks we wear may make us seem invulnerable. Writing can help us gently express the softer, porous parts of ourselves.
What are you scared of? What secrets do you hide? Where do you fall short? Where have you been hurt, and how do you heal?
Journaling, particularly in a safe and private document for your eyes only, can help gently see the wholeness, fullness, richness, of the full spectrum of human experience—vulnerabilities included.
5. Discovering your gifts
When you fear judgement, you might be afraid to do the quirky things that bring you joy from within. You mask yourself with a generic persona based on the “good” qualities that helped you fit in.
These masks to help us fit in might be based on someone we admire, our a socially accepted archetype.
Our true gifts lie in our uniqueness. You may have a particular style of writing that is uncommon, like a poetic and empathic way of expressing yourself. You may have a particular talent that others (or you yourself) don’t recognize, like blending the perfect combination of scents to make delicious-smelling perfumes.
You may have a gift for acknowledging the truth and stirring awakenings, something that your masked-self suppressed because you don’t want to make others uncomfortable.
Using your inherent gifts, following the joy that rises from deep within, is a path to bliss and fulfillment.
Unmasking is a quiet, dignified, and compassionate act, rooted in the essence of your more expansive self.
The process of unmasking for satisfaction and purpose looks like living from a place of knowing and accepting yourself, affirming your truth with dignity and compassion, and doing what brings you meaning and joy.
What’s the medicine you need? I invite you to choose one of these methods to explore your truer self beneath your masks.
About the author
I help people reconnect to themselves and tell stories that make their soul sing.
I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different to write from the heart.
Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with self-expression — so you can feel good about the results.