The Masks We Wear

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Hello everybody! I want to take this time to wish everyone a happy fall, and hopefully everyone had a great summer. When thinking of something to write about for October, the first thing that came to my mind was the horror stories I have from a darker time in my life that I am sure we can all relate to. But maybe we should go deeper than that. October, yes, is a time for vests, apple/pumpkin picking, watching Hocus Pocus, Halloween, ghosts, goblins, and, of course, PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes). But to go deeper and connect it to October, I thought about Halloween. Halloween is a time for dressing up and maybe putting on a mask. So that is where I would like to go with this month’s article. Let’s have a talk about the masks we wear.

For me personally, I do my best to be my most genuine self in all situations. I try to be the same person with family as I am with clients or new friends. Maybe recovery is not showing more of your most genuine self, but surrounding yourself with people who only want to see that side of you. There is a risk in this. I have done a lot of work on myself to be authentic with my family, friends, and loved ones. The good news is that it trickles into other aspects of my life. I am the same goofball at home as I am when I am out with people or at work. There is one aspect that I should mention here. The more authentic you are, the more people will know when you might not be having the best day. This is OKAY! I find that it helps when my friends, family, or even my boss knows when I am not myself that day.

By no means am I saying to shout from the mountaintops when you are not feeling amazing, but it does help to let people in. Some may have questions, like “What if I let the wrong people in? Or what happens if someone breaks my trust? How can I trust people?” My answer to that is you know who your circle is. I find it easier to carry around 4 quarters than 100 pennies. I know who truly cares for me and who I should let in. Sure, some people I was once close with did not make the cut, but that does not mean I cut the world out.

Just to conclude on this idea about the “masks we wear,” it’s okay if you have different sides to you. We should be multifaceted. This idea is about being more authentic, more genuine in what we do. Whatever that looks like to you, it is important to put it into practice. If you don’t know where to start, make a personal inventory. If you’re a workaholic, try saying “no.” If you are introverted, try saying “yes” to opportunities you feel you are comfortable with. For me, a big step was being open about my emotions. I was afraid of being dismissed. However, this changes with practice. Instead of trying to be someone who appeared to have it all figured out, I started talking about how I didn’t. One personal story I’ll share is this. Once, at work, I was having a tough time with one of the aspects of my position, so instead of trying to be confident with an “I got this attitude,” I reached out to a supervisor for help. He walked me through ideas on how to improve and was very courteous about how he went about it. Now I am confident in my work as well as feeling comfortable reaching out to him for help. As the season changes, try to challenge yourself to be more open and honest with those around you who support you.

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