To survive, sometimes we choose to be dishonest. At any war we may use camouflage and deception to survive and ultimately to win. For some of us, in some aspect of our lives, we maybe in survival mode. Perhaps we are trying to survive and win a war that started at our childhood.
We camouflage and wear masks to protect ourselves. Sometime the mask becomes part of our identity. Sometimes if we wear the mask long enough, we will forget who we were before wearing the mask. .
Let us assume we have a fear of abandonment that we experienced as a traumatic event as a child. Perhaps our parents left us alone to go to grocery store or let us cry to sleep when we were in pain or paid attention to our younger siblings. As a child we believed it was our fault. Maybe we were too demanding or we said something that was not liked by them. We then decided that we would not allow ourselves to experience the painful feeling of abandonment again. This was about our survival and we were going to survive and even win the war.
This is when we started wearing the mask. We started hiding our feelings and we started pretending. We smiled at people around us while in reality we wanted to tell them what was bothering us. We acted secure in public while we were looking out for any sign that someone close to us might abandon or betray us again. No time to put our guards down.
Now as an adult we may have desires to express how we feel. Expressing what we appreciate and what we do not appreciate in our relationships. Yet our childhood fears remind us that is not safe to be ourselves. What if they do not like what we say like last time? What if we are abandoned again? We are told by our fears that the war was still going on out there and we needed to be on our guards. The fear tell us, “survive for now; live, express your feelings and be yourself later”.
If we are not careful and conscious enough, the childhood war may not end in our life time.
Take inventory of your strong reactions to words and events. Find out the corresponding threats and fear behind them.
Contemplate on how you are protecting yourself against those threats? What are you trying not to experience and feel?
What if the war has already ended? What if your story was not accurate? What if avoidance is more painful?
Let your guards down. Give yourself permission to take off your mask for five minutes a day. Feel and express yourself with no judgment.
Get to know the stranger you used to know well as a child.
Copyright @ 2016 by Shervin Hojat