Growth Tools - Practical tools for meaningful growth

What masks do you wear?

“What you must dare is to be yourself.”
 -- Dag Hammarskjoldr

“Are you aware that you chuckle when you tell me of your pain?” asked a counsellor many years ago. I (Patrice) wasn’t aware of this. It was an unconscious action designed to hide my distress from others. It also kept me out of touch with my own experience. It trivialized my feelings.

I later came to see how often I would put on a ‘happy face’ mask – again unconsciously. “I’m fine – no problems here!” it broadcast to the world. My ‘happy face’ mask got me out of conflict I didn’t know how to handle, so it served a useful purpose for a time.

At this point, though, I don’t want to wear any masks. I want to be present and conscious. I now want to face and resolve conflict and to truly feel my emotions. If I refuse to feel pain, I’m also unable to feel joy. When my mask is on, I brush those opportunities away. It’s a form of denial.

How do I break through unconscious defensive patterns? With awareness. When I take the time to stop and be aware of myself and the situation, I can stop automatic reactions and consciously choose what will serve me best.

What defences do you use to insulate yourself from life? Have a look at our list of common defensive patterns – the link is below.

“Anything which keeps us unconscious blocks the pathway to soul consciousness.”
-- Andrew Schneider

“When we learn how to be truly present with our joy and our sorrow, with our longing and our desires, layer upon layer of our selves and the world are revealed.”
-- Oriah Mountain Dreamer 

Defending Ourselves Article - Protection that endangers
Defense Mechanisms List - How do you protect yourself?

John & Patrice Robson
John & Patrice
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