There is a mask we put on everyday. Consciously or unconsciously we wear it with our loved ones.. our friends.. and those we engage with as we go about our day. Often, we may not even see an issue with wearing this mask. We may even convince ourselves, that it is a means to an end. A necessary tool to get what we want from life, which can take many forms.
In my case, it meant chasing validation from women, chasing a toxic sense of respect from other men, and above all a deep yearning of looking myself in the mirror and feeling enough. I was building a house of cards, and I didn't fully realize it. What I would tell myself, may sound familiar to you. "When I get that girl I'll be enough." "When I put on just a few pounds more of muscle, I'll feel enough.. etc. etc.
The problem was I was chasing phantoms. Everything I tried, led me to a feeling of emptiness, frustration, or lacking in some sense. There is a deep rooted intelligence in every one of us that knows when we are lying to it, and it doesn't like being lied to.
The price of it, is frustration, energy drain, and a perpetual lack of belonging.
The mask that I wore with women.. only made me feel alone, and even less lovable because I felt that I would never be truly "worthy of love" without it. The mask that I wore with other men.. made me long for genuine friendship, without the foundation of bravado supporting it.
Time after time, I ran, and ran, from truly seeing myself. I ran from standing alone with myself in the silence, perceived flaws and choosing to see them.
I was running, but getting nowhere.
The chase of something external, to validate those feelings of enough-ness can go on forever. Looking at yourself, OWNING who you are, can often be a scary, painful process. Yet it is scarier to wake up one day, realizing that you have spent most of your life denying yourself authentic expression, and connection with others.
Each and every one of us have accumulated reasons why we are not enough, reasons why we must meet the world with our "masks on". Yet at our core.. each and every one of us, wants to be loved, seen, and accepted for who we are beneath our mask.
Make the choice to hear your truth, in the hard moments. In the moments that you're afraid you will lose the love of those around you for it, in the moments that you're afraid you'll be "looked at differently". Through listening, you will only strengthen that which is yearning to be heard and accepted by you. You will build and strengthen a relationship with a part of you that is always true. Go forth, and drop your mask.