Is it time to drop your mask
The world can be a harsh place for you emotionally after becoming a widow.
A normal day can feel like being covered in biting, fire ants crawling all over you.
Putting your mask on is a natural response to do whatever works for you to avoid the pain of your grief and to hide your true feelings. You smile, you laugh even though you know, you are really crumbling inside. You feel powerless to stop the pain, which adds to your grief.
You wear your mask and hide your true feelings and pretend that all is okay.
You protect yourself by pretending as if you’re happy all the time. No one ever knows when your feelings are hurt and to the outside world nothing gets you down and you are coping so well, even though you know the truth, you are crumbling inside.
You are masking your true feelings with “Happiness”. You joke and smile even when your neighbour volunteers you to host the next sit-down dinner for the neighbourhood right at the time you are expecting family from out of town.
You laugh and smile when you bump into an old friend who asks how you are doing? You reply with “Fantastic” I am doing “Great”. Then when you get home, you remove your mask and you fall to pieces, you sink into sadness and depression and the loneliness and isolation is unbearable.
Putting on a mask is a way of disappearing, a way of being invisible.
People Pleaser Mask.
The People Pleaser Mask means doing whatever it takes to make other people happy so that they accept you and are less likely to emotionally attack you. When you think, or have preferences that are different to your friends and family, you hide them or push them away. You don’t want to upset anyone with your views, because you might hurt them in some way.
Have you been in a situation that someone says your friend is a two-faced and untrustworthy, and doesn’t know how to dress, you nod or don’t say anything out of fear, terrifying fear, even though you don’t agree. Then you feel angry at yourself because you were afraid. When you do this over and over, you lose yourself and don’t know what your own thoughts and ideas are anymore.
Mask of keeping myself Busy
Do you keep yourself busy, so busy in fact that you don’t have time to think about your grief, or allow yourself to feel your emotions? Keeping busy is a mask that keeps you stuck on your grief, because you focus on your busyness during the day and not focusing on healing you, to heal your grief. It’s a myth that you have to keep busy after becoming a widow. Healing you starts when you give yourself permission to Feel your emotions so that you can Let go, it’s only when you let go that you can Overcome your emotions and become Whole again.
Masks provide emotional protection in the short term, however the cost and consequences of wearing a mask is very high. When you wear a mask, you don’t heal your grief or feel the warmth of belonging because you hide yourself and your true emotions from friends and family. One of the most basic needs we have is to feel connected to other people and that can’t happen when you are hidden.
Have you been wearing your mask for so long that you don’t really know yourself or what you are feeling? Not knowing yourself creates a lot of anxiety because you can’t make decisions. Your day is determined and decided by others, what they thought, how they felt and not by your feelings and what you want. Avoiding your feelings of grief means you lose part of who you are and increases the chances that you’ll be depressed or anxious. It’s even more than that, it’s exhausting to wear masks.
Dropping the Mask and Reclaiming Your Identity
The first step is to decide you want. This means you are committed to taking action to heal yourself, even though it may be painful in the beginning.
Dropping your mask is challenging, however is so rewarding. Just take one step at a time.
Focus on Awareness:
If you’ve lost who you are, what you like and dislike or your feelings, ask yourself what you really think and feel. Keep asking and keep experimenting–it will come back to you. Keep a journal, and write down what you liked and didn’t like each day. Accept your feelings and trust that they will pass.
Are you trying to hide? Do you have the posture of someone who is trying to hide. If you do, stand up straight and let yourself be visible. Begin to express your opinion and thoughts gently, with kindness.
Face and Feel your Grief
Give yourself permission to Feel the pain of your grief. Whatever your thoughts and feelings are, they are your thoughts and feelings. All widows have their own internal experience of grief and yours are very likely to be different from theirs. Never compare your grief journey to anyone else’s.
Accepting your feelings, instead of avoiding them, will allow you to choose healthier, more effective ways of coping and healing your grief. Facing your external fears will help you overcome your grief quicker.
Imagine living without your mask, and loving to the fullest even if you think its impossible.
What would that be like for you?
Have you reached a crossroads and you want to remove your mask so that you can step into your new normal with love and hope for your future
Schedule a FREE breakthrough call with me where we will go through where you are now in your grief journey, what’s keeping you stuck and where you want to be. https://meetme.so/DeniseDielwart
Denise Dielwart – Widows Living Beyond Grief and Loss