I had a conversation today about what I am going to call a self defeating cycle. The cycle that begins with not being true to who you are authentically because you doubt your self value. So you try to be someone you are not to achieve success, acceptance, status…whatever it might be. Eventually, this gets really tiring and the facade, or mask, drops off. The issue is we rarely take our mask off gently, placing it aside and sitting in gratitude for self and those who support us. Wouldn’t this be wonderful if we did? To sit in vulnerability, to show your truth in a loving way while asking for acceptance?

However…what usually happens is we rip off the mask, light it on fire, stomp on it and throw the ashes at the ones we feel forced it upon us while screaming our truth…cue Braveheart “FREEDOM” moment, battle paint and all. Ironically, the “scream” is often silent and instead shows up as insidious and stealthy resentment, passive aggressive behaviour, or withdrawal.

Unlike the story of Braveheart, which ignites following and passion, our “freedom moments” become rebellions without a cause. Rebellions that have us running away from our loyal loved ones, leaving them, at best, bewildered, and at worst, alienated, angry and hurt.

Eventually, the sun sets on our battlefield and we wake up scarred and alone. We pick up our weapons and turn them upon ourselves, punishing ourselves for being so cruel, so heartless, so selfish in our desire to be our true self. Rather than asking our partners and loved ones to rejoin us, to walk together, to bow in request of forgiveness and love, we hide. We turn away from our true selves.

We rebuild the mask, sewing the pieces of self-crimination, judgment, and fear together again into a tight knight mesh we then place over our face, our eyes, our ears, and most sadly our mouths. We tie it tighter this time, no matter how much discomfort it might cause, in hopes it will stay on longer and somehow better. We want it to be pretty, to be perfect, to hide our self doubt – that somehow this time the mask will fuse to our being and we will become it. This never happens. The cycle is predicable, and inevitable.

And…it is a huge opportunity. The predictability and inevitability of the cycle needs to be celebrated, for with it comes a possibility. A possibility of doing something different, of choosing to leave the shattered mask behind and step into a new way, not a new you, but simply a true you. Be grateful for this possibility and most of all for those who are waiting to walk with you.

Thank you to all those who walk with me.