Take Off The Mask, But Try A Costume
Halloween prompted us to think about the masks we’ve worn in life as well as the idea of “being ourselves.” There are definitely times when it’s appropriate to wear a mask, a face that we present to the world that only partially shows who we are. There are even times when a “suit of armor” is required to protect ourselves from the blows of judgment inflicted upon us by others knowingly and unknowingly. As life unfolds, and as more of these experiences occur, most of us begin to question the price of wearing these protective devices. Are these masks are still serving us or have we become trapped behind them? Do these shields really keep us safe or have they become tools for self-injury – no outside judgment required?
Consider using Halloween as permission to try two things. First, discard any guise that has become limiting or painful. Let yourself transcend the caricatured get-ups that are more about “shoulds” and expectations than truth and self-respect. Conversely, consider trying on some new costumes. Put on and try out ways of being that highlight different, new, exciting, and/or fun aspects of yourself.
Costumes can be liberating and provide us a means to move into and act out new roles, exploring new sides to ourselves. And the “costume” need not be elaborate! Any change, small or large will suffice. The key is to “wear” something to help you feel free to be something that is not typical for you. Here are some methods to assist you in giving costumes a go:
Literally wear a traditional costume to a Halloween event, a party, or even around the house to experience yourself as a different “you.” If wearing the costume while with others, notice how they respond to you, notice how you act – what’s different, what’s surprising, etc.?
“Act as if.” Which means that you act as if a particular thing were true. For example, act as if you are happy with who you are, imperfections and all – what would you do, what would you say, how would you carry yourself if this was true for you?
Put on a hat, stylish or goofy; dress in a color or type of fabric that is unusual for you; accessorize with a scarf, bowtie, jewelry, etc., that someone you imagine to be playful or interesting would wear. Use these items to help you become this other person – how would you feel, what would adventures would you enjoy if you were able to explore reality from this more upbeat perspective?
Self-Discovery Tool Number 65
Remove the masks and armor holding you back. Release the need to style yourself on the outdated expectations of others. Dress up as your best self, choosing guises that reflect the true you. Experiment by trying on new “costumes” – use Halloween as an invitation to play and uncover more about who you are!