In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss how we hide behind masks often paralyzed by the fear of revealing our real selves.
First a quick update:
“desafortunadas en el amor”
Yes for my Spanish speaking readers; “ellas son famosas, sexis e intelligentes, pero en cuestiones del amor no les ha”
“The impact of Jon and Kate’s divorce on children”
Read my comments in the latest edition of National Enquirer and US Weekly on the impact that Kate & Jon’s divorce and vengeful behavior will have on their 8 children and the very best thing they could do for their children.
Now, let’s talk about the masks we use to hide our true selves and how it destroys our enjoyment of life.
In the 1994, motion picture, “The Mask” Jim Carrey plays a bank clerk, Stanley Ipkiss, who is transformed into a manic super-hero when he wears a mysterious mask.
Stanley Ipkiss is an incredibly nice man who allows himself to be pushed around, particularly when it comes to confrontation. Ipkiss is too shy to get girls, he doesn’t dare to ever stand up for himself, and is often pushed around by his boss. But his world changes when he discovers a mysterious mask which transforms him into his inner personality and brings to life his inner desires: he turns into an unconventional super hero in search of justice, particularly those who have wronged him or are trying to take advantage of him. He stands up to his screaming, nagging neighbor; he seeks revenge and justice on the mechanics that try to rip him off over the repair of his car; he confronts his boss, and; daringly and boldly pursues the girl of his dreams. All the while, Ipkiss does this with the attitude of having a wildly good time.
In the movie, Ben Stein plays Dr. Arthur Neuman an author and psychiatrist. Dr. Neuman says that everybody wears a mask: “We all wear masks, metaphorically speaking. We suppress the id, our darkest desires…and adopt a more socially acceptable image.”
In one comical scene, Ipkiss visits Dr. Neuman for advice and guidance about the magical mask he has found which transforms him and for help for ways to win over his new love, Tina.
“I must see Tina” says Ipkiss.
“But what can I do?” replies Dr. Neuman.
“Do I go as myself…or The Mask?” asks Ipkiss.
By now, Dr. Neuman is eager to rid himself of the pesky Ipkiss who Neuman believes is delusional: “If I tell you, you promise to leave my office right now?”
There is a pause as Ipkiss gives him an affirming response.
Dr. Neuman now encourages him: “Go as yourself…and as The Mask. Because they are both one and the same beautiful person.”
Of course, the movie raises the question: who are you; who is the real you? It also highlights the extremes; if we were all to express every aspect of our hidden selves and give into every desire and fantasy, then, yes, there would be mayhem and we would hurt others. Nonetheless, the point here is that we do all wear masks of one kind or another and we do so because we are driven by the motivation of fear; the fear of being exposed, found out, revealed.
What is that fear?
It’s the fear that if the world sees the real us, then it will reject us; people will reject us; we won’t be liked and we won’t be approved. But beneath that fear is the fear that we will reject ourselves.
In other words, we are afraid of looking in the mirror and seeing ourselves as we really are. We are afraid that we would hate ourselves. We are afraid of our own reaction to whom and what we truly are. Thus, in order to avoid unmasking ourselves and in order to get every one’s approval, we hide, play games and put on various masks.
The result though is that we feel weak, depressed, sad, lost, confused, angry, resentful, isolated, and fatigued by the exhausting and daunting task of always putting on a face or mask in the effort to please others.
We become completely powerless because now we have given everyone else the magic wand that determines whether or not we will be happy today based on how they wave that magic wand – to like us or to dislike us.
The irony and paradox is that when we don’t care about what other people think and when we no longer care if they like us or not, they like us more and we become more popular. Why? Because expressing your real self not only exudes confidence and self-assuredness, but it also creates the space and energy that says it is OK for others to be themselves and to express themselves. In other words, when you accept yourself and you express yourself freely, people around you feel that they too, can remove their mask and be themselves and express themselves freely. When you feel good about who you are, you help others to feel good about themselves.
Recently, I was at a birthday party and barbeque. We were all outside and music was playing and I was off dancing on my own looking out over the water and truly enjoying the moment. Numerous times, both men and women approached me to say how much they enjoyed watching me dance. One woman said, “I love your energy and you just don’t seem to care what anyone thinks.” I responded with “thank you” and smiled. It reminded me of the purity of childhood; a child laughs, has fun and dances in the moment because he or she doesn’t care about what people think and isn’t afraid of being rejected. We are so attracted to a child’s free spirit and sense of joy – void of the fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is something that is programmed into us. Remember, a child has no embarrassment about poohing in its pants. A parent knows that first the child will smile because he or she feels relieved and then he or she will cry because it feels uncomfortable.
Now, I am not encouraging you to go out and dance at every party nor am I saying that you should pooh in your pants, but imagine for a moment what it feels like to be released from the need to please everyone or seek their approval. The feeling is equivalent to power, self-confidence and joy. And most of all, when you accept yourself, all of you, and make the changes to those aspects of yourself that you feel need adjusting, you then become a powerful magnet to others.
My humble suggestion is to look deep and take inventory of every aspect of yourself. Can you accept your age, body, looks, personality traits, job, character, values, desires, goals, dreams, disappointments, etc? Until you can do so, you will never be rid of that heavy, painful mask! And, how can anyone love the real you, all of you, if you are always hiding?
If you want to learn more about who you are – your personality, take my personality test; and if you want to boost your self-esteem, self-confidence and release the past, use my hypnosis audio: Feel Good about yourself – and become more confident.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
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Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.