This Halloween Try Taking Off Your Mask, Not Putting Another One On.
Halloween is just around the corner and children of all ages are planning out their costumes. From princesses to zombies and all the creativity that pours into stepping out in the perfect costume begins. Excitement is in the air as we collectively decide to take off our daily masks in exchange for a little dress-up. Where did our oppression with Halloween come from? And what is it about dressing up as someone (or something) different that puts us in such a good mood?
Halloween might have been born out of the idea of scaring off bad spirits, but today we celebrate to escape the identity that confines us.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve become accustomed to wearing a mask in our daily lives. Both figuratively and literally. Hiding from each other and ourselves. Pretending everything is okay when really we are cracking at the seams.
Siloed away from society we started to hide behind our own emotional masks out of fear that life as we knew it had ended. Collectively we started baking bread and enjoying strolls through the neighborhood as we longed for the community of people we had become accustomed to complaining about.
Isolated and online we continue to feel fear as the media drives a divide further and further into modern culture. Without seeing our neighbors and friends we let divisive comments tear us apart. Families are not speaking, friendships have been lost, and still, we wear our emotional masks that everything is okay. Surrounding ourselves with others who echo our thoughts so we can feel less alone in our separation and seen by others to validate our own existence.
We have become so insecure about life as we know it that we have given our power away.
Every time we turn around another bomb has been dropped in our laps that has us continuing to question what the hell is going on! This leaves us unsure, so we…
- Hide behind our fear
- Hide behind our anger
- Hide behind our anxiety
- Hide behind our stress
- Hide behind our loneliness
We hide behind comfortable masks so we feel less alone. Becoming accustomed to pretending everything is okay when really we know it’s not.
The more isolated our lives become in a physical way the more we pretend.
What masks do you wear?
Masks are a natural coping mechanism. They help us feel less like an imposter in our own lives.
- Admitting that your marriage is on the rocks is scary, but pretending everything is okay is comfortable.
- Admitting you need help is scary, acting as though everything is fine is comfortable.
- Admitting you hate your job is scary, showing up every day and doing it anyway is comfortable.
- Cutting ties with a toxic relationship is scary, putting up with the abuse is comfortable.
- Taking responsibility for your health is scary, sleeping in is comfortable.
- Admitting you have a drug or alcohol problem is scary, numbing the pain is comfortable.
We have spent so much time in our heads building up these walls to protect our thinking that we forget that there is a world of support around us.
We fear the discomfort of being seen so we continue to wear masks. Afraid of what the world will think if we took off the masks we wear and let our true selves be seen.
We cannot grow unless we are willing to be seen. Until you can shed the mask that holds your perfect life together and let your true self be seen you will never feel free. Always confined to the balmy air of a mask.
Halloween is an opportunity to try on a new mask and explore in a safe way. What if you allowed yourself this freedom year-round?
Taking off the Mask of Uncertainty
You have so much potential inside that you have disconnected from. You have lost your identity to an idea and now the mask is hard to remove. Being seen is scary, and you will get pushback and might even be judged. But your life, your skills, your creativity, your spirit, can’t grow until you take off that mask and step into uncertainty.
The masks you wear are stealing your potential and adding to your anxiety and stress. Removing the mask, although scary, offers a certain amount of relief. It’s exhausting hiding behind an idea of who you are or what your life should be.
The more masks you wear the harder it is to breathe. And if you aren’t breathing properly true healing cannot happen.
Deciding to breathe through uncertainty is showing ourselves and others that we are worthy of growth and being seen.
Watching children on Halloween is fun because they are at play. Able to take off the mask when the evening is done and let their true selves be seen. What is stopping you from doing the same thing?
- What am I gaining from continuing to wear the masks of my life?
- What am I missing out on by wearing these masks?
- What would happen if I decided to take this mask off?
- How would I benefit from removing my mask?
- What am I willing to give up so I can be free of this burden?
- What am I risking if I choose to be seen?
- How uncomfortable am I willing to let myself be in order to live without this mask?
Asking these types of questions helps us to realize the power of these masks and the challenges you will face once they are removed.
I love Halloween, but some of the costumes and movies designed around this holiday make me uncomfortable. Like going to a haunted house. Not a fun activity for me because they make me super uncomfortable. I can rationalize that it’s all fake and the clown chasing me with a chainsaw is really zero threat to my life, but in the moment it can feel like it does.
What I’m saying is you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable in order to grow. All the dangers and roadblocks in your head are often nothing more than that, a thought in your head.
When you decide to be seen, to ask for help, to reach out, to make a change it will be uncomfortable. You will feel like grabbing that mask and putting it back on, but it will be at the risk of your own health and happiness.
This Halloween instead of trying on a new mask, try instead to set down one of your old ones. And when the world scares you, instead of reaching for that old familiar mask, shock everyone by standing firm without one.