by Andrea Gregg, Refuge Center Intern
It seems that the summer is finally starting to wind down. The kids are back in school, college football is back in season, the weather is starting to cool (ever so slightly), and the Halloween decorations and costumes have started to appear in stores. Halloween has always struck me as an interesting holiday, because it is the one day a year that everyone is allowed to pretend to be someone (or something) else. For a day you can put on a mask or costume and the outside world no longer sees you for who you really are.
Unfortunately, many people don’t only wear masks on Halloween. Countless people feel the need to put on a “mask” anytime they’re around others for fear of people seeing the imperfections in who they really are. Society has taught us that to be imperfect is to be inadequate or not good enough. To reveal your struggles might feel like admitting defeat and opening yourself up to ridicule. So, it can be easier to hide who you really are in order to protect yourself from the possibility of shame, judgment, or criticism. However, the constant struggle to maintain these “masks” for the world can also prove to be exhausting and painful.
Society says that to be anything other than perfect is to be inadequate, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Learning to embrace your imperfections can provide you with courage to be who you really are, compassion for others, and a connection to God’s purpose for your life. Learning to embrace yourself, imperfections and all, can be a powerful step in unlocking love, laughter, empathy, and joy in your life. At The Refuge Center, our therapists are available to help you learn how to shed your mask and begin to live your life authentically. Visit us at www.therefugecenter.org or call us at 615.591.5262.
Source: Brown, B. (2007). I thought it was just me (But it isn’t). New York, NY: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.