13 Tips on How to Live Authentically: Take off your Masks

It’s human to cover up who you really are to not be judged, to be accepted, and fit in with others. From a biological and primal perspective, we are hardwired to fit in with others to feel safe, thrive, and survive as a species. We were not designed to thrive in solitude. 
In my pervious blog post Why you Struggle with Feeling Authentic , I discuss how we all wear figurative masks as a form of protection. A mask is a facade, something we wear to cover up our authentic emotions or experiences. Our masks have the best intention for us. They often want us to feel safe, protected, and in control. They value predictability and consistency.
Masks work at a superficial level, and are out of alignment with our genuine expressions. Beneath the masks are our raw unfiltered thoughts, emotions, and reactions. The masks work to maintain order and image. The masks want us to fit in and not stand out. 
Taking off our masks allows us to show up authentically in our lives. Taking off our masks is taking off our false perceptions of self in order to show up as we truly are.
Initially, it can feel scary and overwhelming to feel that vulnerable. However, taking off our masks is essential for deep connection, belonging, love, liberation and acceptance.
How do we take off our masks?
There are many ways to take off our masks. And to be honest, it will be different for each individual and the particular mask. I will share techniques I’ve personally used to help me take off masks.
Below are 13 suggested practices to take off your masks and live authenticity:
1. Meditate RegularlyA regular meditation practice can foster deep internal silence, where you can tune into your true nature. Meditation makes it easier to hear your inner voice, and release your masks.
2. Time in Nature Nature is a peaceful environment where you can connect with yourself at a deep level without superficial distractions. 
3. Supportive Friends and CommunitySurround yourself with others who desire to show up fully and authentically. This type of community can foster your growth and expansion as an individual. Speak with them vulnerably about your feelings, what brings you joy, and what challenges you are facing. 
4. InspirationRead books, blog posts, poems, music and social media created by fellow truth seekers. There are many other brave and inspirational individuals seeking truth and educating others. Ask yourself: Who truly inspires you and why? 
5. Get HelpA great therapist, health coach, life coach, energy worker, or support group can do wonders. Finding a great healer is like finding a great romantic partner: it can take time, and what’s good for you may not be good for everyone. Reflect on who you are and what type of support you are curious about or want to pursue.
Helpful resources to find support are:
-Ask a friend who you trust
Google search
-Use a health, coach or therapy app on your phone
-Ask your school or company health center for a referral
6. Creative ExpressionCreative expression can be a powerful outlet for your true self to have fun and be authentic. Creativity gets you out of your thinking mind, and into a creative flow state.
7. JournalSet aside time to journal about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. 
8. Set the IntentionSet the intention to take off your masks and show up fully and authentically. Simply setting this as an intention can get your ball rolling in this direction. You can write out this intention on a post it, type it out and save it as your computer background, or say this as a daily manta: “May I show up fully and authentically.” “May I know I’m safe, and it’s okay to take my mask off.”
9. Self Compassion WorkBelieve it or not, self compassion can be taught. I used to think it was something you were born with, or raised in an environment that fostered self compassion. For the longest time, I thought I was out of luck. To my surprise, you can learn self compassion. Manta: “May I be kind to myself” “May I accept myself exactly as I am” “May I love myself unconditionally”
10. Follow the BreadcrumbsDo what brings you joy, and release the voices of self doubts and perceived judgement from others.
You may not know exactly what brings you joy, but you may have curiosity about some things.
Tips to following breadcrumbs: 
-Find a art class at a local art center (google: art classes for adults near me)
-Reflect on or journal about what brought you joy this week. See how specific you can get. Then seek to incorporate this source of joy into your life on a regular basis.
11. Non-violent CommunicationsRead and study non-violent communication materials (such as Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg) to better understand how to communicate at a deeper and more authentic level. A key component to non-violent communications is active listening. This requires fully listening to another person speak, without interrupting, without letting your thoughts take over while they are speaking, and with asking clarifying questions out of genuine curiosity.
12. EducationEducation is empowerment. Seek knowledge, seek wisdom. This can be through books, the internet, your community, workshops or formal education. There is a lot of false information out there, so seek education from credible resources and different lens in order to form your own understanding.
13. Practice, Practice, Practice – Because of neuroplasticity, you can change the neural pathways in your brain. Brains and malleable and can be taught new ways of thinking and processing. The way to create these new ways neural pathways is through repetition. Practice taking off your mask regularly. Ask yourself: what challenges your mask? What are you trying to hide your real emotions about? Tell your loved ones that you love them regularly. Share with your colleague about how you’d like to be treated or addressed. Find ways to hold yourself accountable to showing up fully in your life.
When taking off your mask does not feel safe…
Sometimes taking off your mask may result in rejection by others or major disruption. Stay tuned for my next blog post: When is it safe to take off your masks

About the Author

Claire Semelka is a Certified Health Coach through Duke Integrative Medicine that supports individuals to mindfully break free from old patterns to live their fullest lives. Claire helps clients gain awareness around limiting beliefs, create healthy lifestyle habits, and tap into their fullest potential.

Contact Claire

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