To be loved, affirmed, accepted, and appreciated are human needs and necessities. We learn about the conditions of these human values as children and strive for them the majority of our lives. The difficulty however, is that we do this unconsciously and in ways that are sometime counterproductive. We abandon our values to adapt to external norms that will win approval. We learn how to wear an ego mask. We play pretend.
I worked in and around a profession for over forty years that physically manifests this masking. The ones in the ‘know’ wear clothing that the ‘others’ can’t wear. The excuse is that these ‘special’ people need to be identified as approachable for help. The real reason might have more to do with being seen as an expert, someone who’s special, called out to stand out. It can be beneficial and it can also be a dangerous ego ploy.
Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist and formulator of the “Hierarchy of Needs” speaks words of wisdom concerning our need for masks and why so many of us play the cover up game.“I have learned the novice can often see things that the expert overlooks. All that is necessary is not to be afraid of making mistakes, or of appearing naive.”When we take on this naive childlikeness, we let go our fear, open to possibilities.
How much of your life have you lived in the personality-based models, techniques, theories, processes, and manipulative conditioned notions of who you ‘should‘ be and what you ‘must’ do to be accepted, loved, affirmed, and appreciated? Take a good look and feel the disconnect with your deeper, more authentic, creative, essential self. Who or what is really leading your life? How connected are you to your True Self?
If your ego is out front, your priorities are all about you. This kind of self-absorption leads to selfishness, arrogance, aggression, and the need to dominate and control. It’s an uninspiring place that we hide, repress, and deny in ourselves while condemning it in others. If the deeper soulful life Principle is guiding, the priority shifts to serving the greater good and leads to inspiration for ourselves and others. Where are you?
I know all the places we’re speaking of because I’ve lived them. I’ve worn the uniforms of the experts and attained the degrees. I’ve done the ego dance with a variety of masks and fooled myself as well as others. I’ve had great love and great loss, traveled the high roads and the low ones. I’ve laughed and cried, lived and died only to find myself trying on another mask, afraid of rejection and vulnerability. I want it gone.
So today let’s end this masquerade. Let’s begin again. Let’s engage our life journey with courage and fearlessness. Let’s stand as fellow travelers embracing naivete, beginners mind, childlikeness. Let’s stand as One with New Life to walk through our fears with confidence and delight. Let’s kindly take off our masks; no more fight / flight.