Many of us learn to present a mask to the world. How have we learned to do this?
“I finally took off my mask and love who I am becoming” (Anonymous)
When you think of why you may present a mask to the world, I imagine you might say, Why do I do that? To protect myself; To please people; To be liked; To hide. Maybe there are many more reasons why. We learn sometimes to do this from a very early age. So can you help yourself to improve your confidence or self esteem?
Perhaps your home life in early years was not very loving or supportive. So according to our personality, we learn to please in the hope that we will get our needs met. Sometimes children get angry and act out and become badly behaved. As time goes by, if needs are still not met we can get into the habit of trying to please or becoming tough and hiding our real feelings from the world. This can be when the masks we present to others starts, of course as a form of protection.
According to our experiences as we grow and into adulthood, we learn either to put on new masks or maybe we meet people who care enough to see through our masks.
School can be a place where we really need to be accepted; sometimes we are and sometimes we aren’t. Children can be very cruel, especially to quiet, shy children and some children are already angry at the world and end up in the company of bullies. These are all survival mechanisms to help us cope in life. We all need to feel we belong somewhere.
As we grow so many things can help or hinder us. Society can throw us curve balls, such as living in difficult areas, low wages, poor housing. If life has been difficult it can leave us with poor self-esteem. Even if life has not been difficult, we can find ourselves struggling to keep up with everything that needs to be done, paying bills, getting to work when you have children, pressures put upon us from ourselves/others. This too can leave us feeling stressed and low, but we feel we have to keep going and going until we might experience depression or panic attacks.
Is it any wonder when we do stop to think, that we wonder just who we are, where we are going and what our purpose is?
As children we need protection and guidance. Children are not always free to change their lives. As adults, we are. Many adults I see are still unconsciously allowing old patterns and beliefs to guide them. Until we look at the things we believe to be true and question if they are still appropriate, we do not have the choice to change them.
For example: If you allow others to take advantage of you because you are afraid that they will be angry or make your life a misery and you cannot say no, then it will continue. This is a learned pattern and each time you cannot be there for yourself, you will be left with feelings of anger. If you really want to change your life then you must start learning to listen to what is going on within you and question your feelings:
Usually it is old feelings emerging over and over again. This is when you have a choice to change things and that takes courage. Start listening to what is important to you and have the courage to change, so that you can be more authentically yourself.
“Sorry but no I cant do that!”
Yes, the first time you say “Sorry but no I cant do that!” you will feel wobbly and scared, but hold inside that you are doing this for your good. When you say yes, but really want to say no, you deceive yourself and give a part of yourself away to someone else. I understand that this may feel hard, but this is why it takes courage. Learning to be there for yourself is the very kindest thing you can ever learn to do. When you can really trust yourself to be there and be the best friend you have got, then you can be there for others, willingly, wholeheartedly because you have learned to put boundaries around yourself. We all must, at sometimes, learn to be responsible for ourselves and maybe you will need help with this.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help either from good friends, loved ones or even a counsellor.
For support on any self esteem issue you can contact Gillian direct through her Greatvine profile
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