Stress Management: How to Take Off Those Masks We Wear


The Mask of "I've Got It All Together"

It's so easy to put this mask on, and then forget you are wearing it. We want to look to the outside world as if everything is fine, we've got it all handled, no problems, thank you very much.

This one weighs alot, and is very heavy to carry around. Even worse, it makes it very hard to ask for help, which leads to the next mask.............

The Mask of "I Don't Need Anyone"

Simon and Garfunkel sang "I am a rock, I am an island." So American culture, and so wrong. While it's good to stand on your own two feet, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, and all other applicable clichés, when taken to an extreme, it can be very isolating. While being independent is a worthy goal, we all need someone to lean on. The curious thing is, most people really like to help when asked.

The Mask of Perfectionism

Another very seductive mask because it makes us look so good. Too bad it's not only false, it's also not attainable. So many people strive for perfection as a way to feel good about themselves. A good move here is to trade in perfectionism for excellence, which is attainable, and a whole lot more fun.

The Mask of Busy-ness

Somehow, busy-ness has become associated with importance. If we are always busy, then we must be important. Unfortunately, busy-ness binds us to many things that might be good and worthwhile, while we miss the things that are the very best.

The Mask of Knowing It All

In the world of "difficult people", these folks are known as IEOE's, Instant Experts On Everything. This mask is typically accompanied by a burning desire to beat people over the head with their important knowledge. The really sad thing is these folks tend to be very unteachable, and therefore never actually learn anything.

The Mask of "Impression Management"

While similar to the I've Got It All Together mask, it differs in at least one important way. It's much more exhausting. It's hard to put down the worry about what everyone else thinks, and the need to control the impression you make on each and every person.

The goal of most masks is protection. In many cases it is not needed. Or if it was once needed, that time has passed. Taking off these masks involves risk. It's useful to begin by peeking out from behind the masks a little bit at a time, and then watch what happens. Most folks find that it's much safer out there than they thought, and it's a whole lot easier than lugging around all those heavy masks.

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