As I prepare for my upcoming Goddess Workshop, I have been exploring the way many people, myself included, tend to put on different faces or masks for various situations. It seems that certain scenarios can call for different masks- depending on how we perceive ourself or the situation. The mask is usually a means of protection or to fit in or to cover a part of ourself we either feel insecure about or we are uncomfortable with.
I was recently on my oldest son’s 8th grade trip to Washington DC as the RN. What a lesson in social psychology! Adolescence is a huge time of figuring out who we are and how we fit in as well as a time for exploring different masks and seeing which ones may be needed to get us where we THINK we want to be. One girl referred to a group of kids as “the top tier”- meaning the most popular group. When observing the dynamics and interaction of this group I noticed that the majority of them were very insecure and mask laden in their attempt to fit in or get attention. In addition, they seemed lonely and unable to trust the peers around them on the ‘top’. This brings up a topic that I often discuss with my teen and tween clients- Toxic vs. positive friendships. Toxic friends are those people around whom you need to keep masks on for and who you feel insecure or uncertain around and who, generally, do not bring out the best in you. It took me until my early 20’s to figure this out and learn to surround myself with positive friendships- friends who support me, make me feel good and able to be myself without the need for masks. People who accept me shadow’s and all.
Debbie Ford has dedicated a lot of time and energy towards discovering and shining light on the “shadow side” of self. Click on her name to see a youtube video interview. She describes the shadow side as our “dark side or a part of self that we suppress, deny or hide”. She has a new book out in collaboration with Marianne Willamson and Deepok Chopra called “The Shadow Effect”. Deepok refers to humanity as being inherently dualistic in nature- having a shadow side and a light side. Ford states that “anything we judge is our shadow” and she suggests shining light on the shadow to unlock the goodness in it that serves you and contributes to your uniqueness, success and power. You can explore the shadow or what lies beneath the masks by looking at what you struggle with or try to hide or suppress. Shed light on the shadow by looking at it through a positive versus negative eye to reveal how that quality might serve you, thereby embracing the wholeness of you and basking in your power and individuality. It is a challenging process, but when we are able to put away our masks and let people see the true you, we are empowered, loved unconditionally and our radiant light can shine from within. I challenge you to explore your masks, their purpose and look beyond to your shadow side. How does it serve you? Through that process you will be liberated to take off your masks and keep them off and let YOU shine through.
*If you are interested in this process, but would like support through it and guidance, The Goddess Workshop is for you.