Are you tired of pretending? Tired of spending so much time and energy trying to live up to the expectations of others? Are you afraid to show people the real you? Have you ever wondered why you’re doing all this? The answer is simple: you fear being known.
So many of us today are living the “try hard” life. Trying to be perfect. Trying to maintain control. Trying to be what others want us to be. Why? Because we are afraid that if we remove the masks we wear others will reject us. So we hide, we pretend, and we live lives that aren’t authentic. It really shouldn’t be this way. To live authentically we need to get real.
Why is that important? Because we’re engaged. We’re passionate. We’re learning more about who we really are. If you’re tired of pretense and you’re ready to remove the masks you’ve been wearing in the name of perfection, here are four areas of life you need to examine if you’re serious about living authentically.
If we were created for relationship, it makes sense that we have a longing for secure connection. But real connection comes with a price. We have to be willing to expose ourselves. We have to risk coming out from behind the masks we wear in the name of appearing like we have all together and be willing to be vulnerable with the important people in our lives. Sound scary? Maybe, but it’s key to living an authentic life that will make you feel empowered and fully alive.
Feelings of shame cause us to hide our true selves. Shame tells us we’re not worthy of love and belonging. It also disconnects us from others. If you hold beliefs like “I’m bad, or “I’m unlovable” chances are you’re carrying around some secret that’s causing you to feel shame. Recognize the triggers that cause shame by paying attention to your thoughts, and your self-talk. Can you recognize when you’re in shame’s grip? Pin point the messages that are driving the shame. Are they realistic? Is there an alternative way to look at the beliefs you hold about yourself? What evidence do you have to support the beliefs that you’re unlovable, or bad? Practice coming against the critical judging voice that condemns you.
When we don’t like ourselves very much it’s easy to create a false self that we believe will be more presentable to others. That’s why we wear masks like pleasing, performing for acceptance, avoiding, and controlling. We all want to feel loved, valued and accepted. When we don’t, we look for ways to protect ourselves from the pain that can cause. That fear of rejection can cause us to isolate ourselves from others. Isolation is the result of shame. It’s saying that if people really knew me, they’d reject me so it’s safer to be alone. Once we tell our story to someone safe we can free ourselves from the baggage we’ve carried around---sometimes for years. Find a safe person to talk to. Tell your story and begin the healing journey.
You are the only person who can decide about how you will live and how you will order your life. If you’re tired of being on the performance treadmill seeking the approval of others, if you’re tired of feeling fearful of rejection, if you avoid conflict because the fear of being assertive means others may not like you, it’s time for superwoman (or man) to take off the cape. You and God are the only two that can chart the course of your life. Own your stuff by taking responsibility for it and see if you don’t feel more empowered. The choice is yours.
Back at you:
Are you living an authentic life? If not, what roadblocks are standing in the way? What masks have you worn in the name of having it all together? Ready to take them off and live empowered?