As humans, we have our strong points and our not-so-strong points. Sometimes people might call them our ‘weak points’. All of us have negative features and temperaments that we tend to hide from others to avoid exclusion or make sure that we are liked. This process of cultivating our behaviours can lead to us forgetting that we possess these negative traits, and we construct ‘masks’ to hide them. Internal masking occurs when we fail to notice our own shortcomings while picking out the same flaws in others. External masking occurs when external factors threaten our self-image, leading us to deceive ourselves to protect our self-esteem. However, constantly wearing a mask is tiring and it wears us out.
It is essential to acknowledge our true selves; life is a constant process of learning about ourselves, changing behaviours to better ourselves, and accepting the things we cannot change about ourselves. When we are afraid of confronting our shortcomings, we often distract ourselves with activities like shopping too much, partying a lot, or distracting ourselves with too much food, alcohol, or other substances. All of this distracts us and makes us feels good in the moment, but ultimately it takes away time and resources that we could use to actively better our lives in the long term.
To change or improve the things that we have decided are flaws, we must first recognise them and imagine how we would prefer to be. Once we understand our ideal self, we must make a conscious effort to change our behaviours. It may be challenging at first, but as we persist, new behaviours will become part of our character, and people will notice the positive changes. Often we talk ourselves out of meaningful change at this point, thinking that it’s too much effort to sustain. What we don’t realise is that habits take time to establish. I often talk to people in the therapy room who are right on the brink of making massive, meaningful changes, but they’re hesitating. they need some gentle encouragement and support to elieve that they’ve got the skills, resources, and courage to make the leap. Even if it’s something that they desperately want.
However, we aren’t always able to change everything we don’t like about ourselves, and that is okay. Practicing self-acceptance is crucial when we cannot change our behavior. Sometimes the things that we find most annoying about ourselves as the very quirks that other people find loveable. If you’re struggling to accept something about yourself there are many different things that you can do to help you come to a place of peace.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. When you are mindful, you can observe your negative self-talk and gently redirect it towards more positive and self-affirming thoughts. Meditation can also help you cultivate self-compassion by focusing on your breathing and releasing judgmental thoughts.
Secondly, practicing self-care can also help you develop self-acceptance and self-love. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally can help you feel more confident and positive about yourself. This can involve anything from getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet, to indulging in activities that bring you joy.
Lastly, seeking support from others can also be beneficial in developing self-acceptance and self-love. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people who accept you for who you are can help you feel more validated and loved. Additionally, therapy can also provide a safe space for you to explore your feelings and develop a healthier relationship with yourself.
In conclusion, we all have masks that we wear to hide our negative features and temperaments. However, wearing these masks is tiring, and it is important to acknowledge all aspects of our character, not just our strengths and ‘good points’. While it’s important to work towards being better, kinder, and more tolerant people, practicing self-acceptance is equally important when we cannot change our behaviours. Kindness also works when it’s directed inwards.