Are you living behind a mask?

I work with people to help them see who they are underneath their masks.

I have several masks. They provide me with a fixed way of being when I feel stressed in some social situations, and ensure my survival at that time.  One of them is the mask of ‘charm’ – being very attentive, very light, a bit ‘Hugh Grant’ like, and can verge on being slightly over familiar, and apologetic.

Another of my masks is to ignore things, or deny their existence, just blank things completely. By avoiding, denying and ignoring, I get to avoid the unpleasant feelings of not knowing, or not knowing what I am supposed to do in the situation.

Putting a mask on creates a protective bubble around you. Good as this may seem, it is difficult to get what you want when you’re operating from inside what you already know – your bubble – because it is a fixed way of thinking. Coming out of your bubble, or going underneath the mask, accesses different results. I help people to see their blind spots, see what holds them back, and help them become aware of the masks they create and live in.

One way of spotting your mask is to be aware of what you are alert to. What danger are you sensing? What are you tense about? What is your unconscious focus on?

For me, in a social situation for example, I could be alert to not being understood, being dismissed or not being noticed. Masks are generated by your ego, and it is my ego that is bothered whether I am heard or understood.

A commonly seen mask is to appear very busy, or driven. It is a great way of avoiding tackling something that is more important, as ‘busyness’ provides a huge distraction. I can find myself being busy with anything except what is important as a way of delaying or stalling for time.

When I see people displaying recognisable masks, I have an inward grin of recognition as I will often recognise them in myself. Because I have distinguished my own masks, I have an ease around them, as they are no longer automatic and I can choose whether I wear them or not. When I see other people’s masks, it is a clear sign that they may be distressed at some level and may have no understanding of what they re doing. If they are willing, I help them become aware of their mask by acknowledging where they are feeling at risk.

Being aware of what you are alert to can make the difference between running your life from fear, or at the other end of the spectrum, running your life peacefully and powerfully.

Consider the possibility that you may wear a mask, or even several at once. Masks are so close to you, and so well fitting that often people are not aware that they are wearing them.

If you want to go begin distinguishing your masks, start noticing what you are alert to, and where you may feel like you are sensing danger. Become aware of what upsets you, or when you feel off balance, uncomfortable, or stuck. Notice what’s not working for you and when you get frustrated. I guarantee that if you are feeling any of those things, your ego is running the show  – you are operating from your mask.



If you would like help in distinguishing your masks, or feel held back, stuck or unfulfilled and want to do something about it, please contact me by email or phone, for a free 30 minute consultation. 

About theclaritycoach

Paul Stonehouse is an experienced coach, educator and speaker, and is completely committed to helping people perform at their best. His particular passion is helping people move forward when they are stuck, enabling them to live and work a in a way which is a confident expression of their true selves.
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