Before you can do anything, you have to be able to learn how to receive. If you don’t, you’ll never get it. And this change that happened to me within three months would have never come to fruition. I would still be that person lying on the side of the road, blaming other folks for throwing me under the bus.
#1 – No Mask
One of the things I learned was to take off that mask that I had been wearing for so long. The mask wasn’t to hide something evil… even superheroes wear one to protect their true, vulnerable identity. I’m talking about taking off a mask and seeing who is underneath. That person may be damaged from years of neglect, hurt, and accusatory things from other people. Taking off the mask gives you the right and ability to see yourself in a way that others cannot and did not for so long. So, I took it off. And I lived naked and carefree and learned to live with the person that I was quite sure that others would hate.
#2 – You Have To Do It
That masked I mentioned? You have to take it off. You have to want to take it off. No one can take it off of you and say that you’re beautiful and have you fully and committedly believe it. It won’t work. You know that you’re solely relying on someone else’s opinion on who you are and what is considered admirable for you. You cannot take their word for it because you never believed it in the first place or you would have removed the mask yourself. I wanted to stop breathing behind the stiff and stale smells of what I noticed was going on around me. And when you remove it, something wonderful happens: Others start to reveal to you that they, too, started to smell the stench of something bad happening. You start to realize that people only said nothing to you because they could see that you, too, were a mask-wearer and chose to not believe the truth even if it sat right in front of you. I told myself that I wanted to be free. That was the first step. The rest came naturally as soon as the mask fell.
#3 – Stay Busy
One thing I noticed more than anything was that when I took the mask off, and did it “just for me”, I pondered about it. I kept going over and over and over again in my mind what I had done wrong and how I felt and what kind of world was I living in and who would want me now and yada yada yada. I became unmotivated. I became docile. I didn’t want to do or say or be anything that would cause waves. I just couldn’t do it without my reliable, trusty mask on my face. Someone could ask me a question and I would just fall on all fours and beg for them to please not hurt me. And then I stopped. I started just doing things, not knowing if the outcome was going to be what I expected. I started writing. I started going to places by myself. I started doing things that I had never, ever considered doing before and didn’t know what to expect to happen when I got there. That was so unlike me; I’m a planner. I’ve always planned out everything intensely and I know how to do what is expected of a great planner, but what about a not-so-great one that’s just going with the flow? I had to learn how to be that latter one because the previous one was killing me (in the literal sense) whenever it was outside of the work area.
The truth is, there’s no easy 1-2-3 step guide to tell you how to live your life. It’s full of rough edges and knowing exactly what to do depends on the moment. But one thing I did take with me is that if someone doesn’t want me, I say “okay” and walk away. I’m tired of trying to please people above and beyond what I think they expect from me. To know me as who I am is what I’m discovering and what I’m also teaching other people on how to view me. And if they don’t like who I am, then I know it’s best to walk away and let them be whomever and meet whomever they choose that fits their profile… or is willing to try to. I had to discover that I am good enough. Not in an egotistical sort of way, but in a “people will always tell you that you need to improve yourself with something when you actually don’t want to do it in the first place” frame of mind. I got it. I know that people want to push me and mold me into whatever they feel is best suited for their needs, but the truth is so much sweeter: Just be who you are, and the right people will come to you eventually.