Halloween is coming up soon and for many, the best part about that is the costume. Whatever you desire to be, you can be for one night. You want to be a princess? Dress up like one and take on the persona of a princess for a night. If you long to be a superhero, you can dress up as Wonder Woman and embody all that it means to be strong beyond belief. Behind the costumes and masks, there is no awkwardness, vulnerability or judgment. It’s just you behind the mask, free to be whatever and whomever you want to be.
Isn’t that kind of like what we do at the beginning of a relationship? We are often under the misconception that by wearing a mask, we can be better than what we really are for that other person. We believe this ‘costume’ we are wearing can hide our flaws. These masks give the impression that we are someone or something we are not.
If you find yourself doing this, in choosing to wear a mask you are missing the opportunity to share who you really are and let the other person get to know the real you. Turn the tables for a moment – do you want to know the mask or the person behind it? You’ve got to give what you wish to receive.
Let’s face it: having a romantic interest in someone is putting yourself in a very vulnerable position. We are waiting to see if this person will reject us or hurt us or love us for the long haul. In putting ourselves out there – our true, vulnerable selves – we are taking a big risk. Sometimes, it’s just easier to put on a mask and be the “ideal” partner in order to draw the other person in and be Ms. Perfect.
But the reality is this: wearing a mask does not support a relationship in the long run. If you’re doing things you don’t want to do just to keep Mr. New & Wonderful in your life, and not being your authentic self, you are not having a relationship with that person. You’re setting this relationship up for failure. You have a much better chance of having a healthy & happy relationship if you start out being who you are from the very beginning.
The only thing that truly gives you a chance of creating a relationship that will last is to put your best foot forward – your authentic self. Is it scary? You bet. Being authentic with anyone is scary, especially in the beginning. Being vulnerable is hard, but healthy vulnerability is always a good thing.
Love yourself and be yourself. Allow someone to get to know you and love you too. Allow yourself to get to know someone free of manipulation and control. In order to have true love, authenticity is critical. So take off the masks and just be you. Unless it’s Halloween, of course.