Many of us know the feeling of being stuck in a particular role within our families, as if we are wearing masks whenever we see the people we love. Maybe we are the good daughters, expected to always please others, or perhaps we are the family clowns, expected to be jovial and make everyone laugh. This same scenario can play out within a work situation or a group of friends. We may be so good at our role that we hardly even notice that we are wearing a mask, and yet, deep down, we know that we are not free to simply be who we really are. This can leave us feeling unseen and uneasy.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wearing a mask or playing a role. It is a natural part of any social dynamic and it can even be creative and fun. It only becomes a problem when you feel that you have no other choice than to wear that mask, and this is especially challenging if you realize you are never without one. Perhaps you have forgotten who you really areâ€”a vast and unrestricted being of lightâ€”and have identified yourself completely with a role. You may be the dutiful, caring son who keeps his parentsâ€™ dysfunctional marriage intact. You may be the angelic wife who enables your husband to continue on a destructive path. You may be the cheerful daughter to a deeply depressed mother. Whatever the case, knowing the motivation behind your performanceâ€”the function of your maskâ€”can help to uncover your true face.
Anytime we find ourselves stuck behind a mask, it is an indication that we are entangled in a dysfunctional dynamic in which our true self cannot be seen. We have been placed in this situation for the purpose of our own healing and, in some cases, the healing of others. From this perspective, life can be seen as a series of situations that call us to remove our masksâ€”gently, and with great compassion for all concernedâ€”to reveal the beauty underneath.