The Pseudo-You: The Art of Taking Off Your Mask

Blog_SeptPhotoUsedI’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability lately. In the past, I was very good at hiding. Hiding from my true feelings, afraid of asking questions because what other people might think, going along with everyone else, being afraid to speak up, etc.

I did all this because I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in if they knew the real me. I wanted to be liked, to be a part of the group, and to be loved.

I realized I had many masks. There was…

  • Funny Teresa
  • Story embellishing Teresa
  • Miss know-it-all Teresa
  • I’ll agree with everything you say Teresa
  • I will compare myself with every other woman in this room Teresa
  • I laugh when I’m uncomfortable Teresa
  • Everything is fine Teresa
  • Passive-Aggressive Teresa
  • I can one-up-you Teresa

Whoa, deep breath. The list above is a little painful to write. Mostly because I really feel for that Teresa.

Yoga taught me to look within. I started listening and watching myself in social situations.

Slowly, and over time, I was able to shed some of these masks. A few, I’m still working on. Life gives us the opportunities to practice being ourselves.

In reality, we ALL have a mask on to some degree. They are a survival mechanism. However, you will never please everyone all the time. There will always be someone who won’t like you, that’s ok.

How can you start to shed some of your masks?

Say what you really mean

Be ok with being uncomfortable. If you’re sad, say it. If you’re hurt, say it. If you’re not sure what to say, say that. If you’re tired, say you’re tired. Start by getting real.

Those of you that take my yoga classes know this is my policy. If I ask you how you are, I want the truth. Not a, “I’m ok” with a smile while underneath your thinking about how terrible your day was. I created a space for my yoga students to practice this.

–> Make a conscious effort to begin practicing this concept. 

Let go of the outcome

Seeking outside approval is a waste of your time and energy. You don’t need to be in their head figuring out what they think of you.

I love this quote by Paul Coelho, “What other people think of you is none of your business.”

What really counts is what you think of yourself. You need validation from no one. Click To Tweet

–> Ponder: You are not responsible for how other people respond. They’re looking at the world through their own colored glasses.

Acknowledge your strengths

Practice acknowledging your strengths and contributions. Understand the value you bring to your work and this world.

–> Think about what areas you really excel at. Make a list {ask your friends, if you need help} and refer to it when you feel less than.  

Taking off your mask is about being able to be seen deeply. It’s about loving yourself enough to put your whole self out there and letting go of who you think you should be to become you you are.

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” – Brene Brown

When you no longer seek other people’s approval, you are free.

Comments

  1. Ellen says

    Teresa, how true. Our society is good at training us to be “nice” and cover up our true feelings, to the point where we don’t necessarily feel safe in being ourselves. I’ve had a situation where I’ve been honest (not mean) and lost a relationship (I’m hopeful that they’ll come around), but I’ve come to realize that it’s not about me, it’s about the other person, and I’ll never know all of what the other person has experienced in their life that went into what they feel. And Paul Coelho is correct, it’s none of my business what others think of me, and I cannot control it either. Thank you for your profound post!

    • Teresa Neuhaus says

      Hi Ellen, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been writing this blog post in my head for quite some time. This is why relationships are so vital to our growth. They help us to see what we need to work on, let go of, and re-learn. Much love to you. Xoxo

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