Authenticity and transparency are buzzwords in the Coaching Industry, Corporate America, and Political culture. And, there is no doubt there is tremendous value in honing the skill of showing up "real". But- it's not always that easy.
As human beings we learn at a very young age how to morph into what ever will serve us, protect us, give us more attention, make us more seen or less, make us more likable, lovable, valuable, cool, smart, attractive, acceptable, and enough. We are trained in our formative years to work at “fitting in”. This is when we begin to build our repertoire of personalized masks. Growing up I had slew of them. I had the giggle mask, happy mask, fearless mask, capable mask. As I grew older I added the apology mask, daring mask, I got it all handled mask (a step up from the capable mask). I had a plethora of masks to choose from and they served me well, until they didn’t. I found myself feeling hollowed out, insignificant, which of course motivated me to create more masks, until my life hit a wall and I was smacked down by my own in-authenticity. My non-transparent, co-dependent nature had created so much exhaustion, and such a deep profound loneliness, that I was breaking out in hives and becoming physically ill. My marriage was the mask of all masks and I was suffocating under it, my Being was dying a slow death. This may sound dramatic but I kid you not, it is how I felt. I had de-selfed, detached from who I was, so much so I couldn’t remember who I was. That is what happens when we use masks to show the world what we think it wants from us, instead of Being who we are. It is no wonder that often times I will have a client show up to a coaching session with the expression, “I don’t know what I’m feeling, or how I feel about that, or what I want.” It gets tricky to identify what feelings are authentic and what is a projected feeling from what we think the world wants from us.
How do you choose to show up? Are you wearing a mask or are you being transparent? Are you using your authentic voice or saying what others want to hear… The way to begin to identify if you are wearing a mask or being “real” is to notice if there is another conversation going on within your Self, while you are performing on the outside. Notice how you feel when the conversation is over, and what thoughts you are having about the exchange. It is that simple, it’s simply noticing where you are in your body. Are you feeling exhausted or energized is another indicator.
Even a fierce conversation (Susan Scott, founder of FIERCE,
https://fierceinc.com/about/leadership) can leave you feeling energized when you are authentic because you are speaking from your truth, instead of making up stuff that is in-authentic and has nothing to do with who you really are.
Ask your Self to step away from the mask, and dare to be you. Train the world to be in relationship with you, instead of the world training you to be someone else.