Our innate greatness can feel obscure. Perhaps you have experienced glimpses of your personal greatness only to watch it slip away again. This is what happens when you identify with the persona created by your defense mechanisms.
All children develop a set of defense mechanisms in order to emotionally survive, which are out of sync with the core self. Some of us have been hiding in the shadow of our defense mechanisms for so long, we are unaware that our core selves have long been buried.
I call these defense mechanisms, the mask.
During childhood, the talents, gifts and abilities we were born with were still maturing, which left us essentially powerless in a world full of expectations. To compensate, we designed a very special mask that we could wear for protection. We wore the mask so often that we broke it in quite nicely and got really comfortable with wearing it. Eventually, we forgot to take it off. In doing so, we also forgot about our superpowers (aka innate talents, gifts and abilities) and so they ended up buried deep inside of us. For most of our lives, we have been relying on the mask we created to achieve safety and security in the world as we know it.
Operating through the mask instead of your superpowers is like climbing barefoot over a mountain of glass while carrying a 100-pound weight on your back – when you could have instead bypassed the mountain altogether and taken the soft, cool grassy path, with a wheelbarrow at your disposal. The sole purpose of the mask's existence is to protect you, but it does not operate with logic. It is fear-based and lives in the emotional right brain.
Your mask has sometimes been incredibly helpful when you needed to move through a painful situation and maybe you have often worn it to help you achieve success. It has most likely given you the fortitude to plow through life's challenges and it may have seemed to protect you during times of stress. The mask is excellent at reactionary problem solving, but it only offers band-aid solutions. One quick fix simply creates other hurdles to overcome and does not allow you to achieve peace and fulfillment.
The mask makes life unnecessarily painful and difficult.
The mask creates a heavy load to carry, but usually, we are not aware that we are carrying anything, because we have forgotten any other way of being. Achieving life goals for the sake of the mask's persona is a fear-based way of life and provides only short-term satisfaction.
Do you believe the story that life is hard? If so, you do because it is true – life IS hard with the mask. The mask affects the choices we make in all aspects of our lives – dictating the systems we adopt, the careers we choose and the types of relationships we keep. Perhaps the most debilitating aspect is the negative impact on relationships with the people we care about the most.
The mask is a coping mechanism – the tool we unconsciously use to protect ourselves. The personal life stories we identify with derive from the false beliefs that wearing the mask has created. The mask hijacks the unconscious mind. Thoughts become fear-based and irrational. In the midst of this experience, it is impossible to show up for ourselves or anyone else.
Most of us are wearing our masks every waking hour. The good news is, no one has to live this way.