What someone may find, that’s if they were to step back and reflect on their life, is that they have the tendency to hide who they truly are. They may even say to themselves that they often wear a mask around others.
What this is going to mean is that even if they are aware of their needs and feelings, they won’t express what is going on inside them. Instead, they will automatically play a role, and this could mean that they play the same role or alternative between a few.
Out of Sight
Either way, who they truly are is rarely, if ever, going to see the light of day and this is going to make it hard for them to live a fulfilling life. If this is how they have behaved for as long as they can remember, it is likely to mean that they have suffered for a long time too.
For this to change, they will need to be in tune with who they are when they are around others and for these inner aspects to influence how they behave. The truth is that this is what should feel normal.
By being this way, it will give other people the chance to see who they really are. Thanks to this, they will know that the people in their life like and even love them for who they are, not for the role that they play.
Furthermore, this feedback will allow them to receive the nutrients that they need to feel full and alive. What this comes down to is that they, like everyone else on this planet, are an interdependent human being.
So, while they won’t truly need anyone else in order to feel whole and complete, the feedback of others will impact their sense of themselves. Consequently, to be at their best, they will need to be around others and to receive a certain type of feedback from them.
The feedback that they receive by playing a role will be better than living in isolation and not receiving any, but it won’t be anywhere near as nourishing as the feedback that they would receive if they were to reveal who they are. This is then similar to how living on scraps is better than starving but it is nowhere near as good at consuming the right nutrients.
The Next Step
At this point, and if one is in tune with who they are, it could be said that one just needs to change how they behave. Through the behavioural approach, they will gradually be able to drop their mask and fully step into who they are.
However, if one was to try this approach, they may find that they end up feeling very uncomfortable and simply behave in the same way as before. After this, they could end up feeling bad and even see themselves as weak.
If this takes place, on the one hand, they will have the need to change but, on the other, they will have the need to stay the same. As behaving in this way is not serving them, it could seem strange as to why this would feel comfortable.
Now, if they were to imagine dropping their mask and revealing who they really are, so expressing their needs and feelings, they could find that they experience fear and anxiety. Along with this, they could feel a lot of pressure and heat in their face and feel the need to hide.
Too Much To Handle
Being seen, then, is not going to be something that is pleasurable; it will be something that is painful. Further, it won’t just be something that is painful at an emotional level; it will also be painful at a physical level.
Taking this into account, it is not going to be a surprise that they will have been doing what they can to stop their fellow human beings from looking them in the eye and seeing them for who they are. What this may illustrate is that their early years were less-than nurturing.
A Closer Look
This may have been a stage of their life when they were regularly neglected and then abused as time went by. To make matters worse, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything about what was going on or to run away and, due to being egocentric, they would have personalised what took place.
This would have caused them to associate who they are, which will largely be made up of their needs and feelings, as being bad and to automatically create a false self. Not receiving the nutrients that they needed to be able to grow and develop would have caused them to experience a lot of pain and stopped them from being able to go through each developmental stage.
The interpersonal bridge, the link that would have allowed them to feel as though they belonged, had a right and deserved to exist, and were worthy and lovable, between them and their caregivers probably wouldn’t have formed. This would have caused them to feel rejected and abandoned, and as though they had been ostracised.
Yet, if this bridge had been formed, they would have felt welcome by their family and then, as time went by, by society. Throughout this time, they would have often felt overwhelmed and automatically ended up going into a collapsed, shut down parasympathetic dominant state to handle the arousal and been filled with toxic or core shame.
Many, many years will have passed since that stage of their life but although their mind will have moved on their body won’t have. To their mind, what happened will be in the past, but, to their body, what happened won't be over.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.