Written by Monti Pal, LPC
Halloween can be magical for many of us; it can be a fun time of year to us to dress up in costumes and try on a different identity. A time for us to wear a mask and be somebody or something else.
But have you ever thought about the masks that you wear in your everyday life?
Do you pretend to be somebody you aren't and then feel disconnected with yourself?
Do you hang on so strongly to pieces of your identity that you can't allow yourself to be somebody else or behave in a different manner?
What story do you tell yourself about who you are? Do you get lost in the thoughts, facts, feelings, judgments, and memories that you tell yourself?
From a mindfulness perspective, who you are and your identity isn't an issue. That's right---I just said that your identity isn't an issue!
In fact, the question, “who am I,” can actually create quite a bit of suffering for us.
You see, our identities are fluid and flexible. Who I am as a therapist might be different from who I am as a mom.
Who I am is based on what I value. In some situations, I may value compassion and in some situations I might value trying new things and engaging in adventure. At times in my life, I have been told I am perfectionist and at times I have been told I am not. At times people see me as neat and at times I am messy. I am not defined by any one of these things because I am different in different situations. What is most important to me and helps guide me through life are my values-or how I want to be.
Often we get so lost in the definition and search for our identity that we build masks and walls around ourselves. These masks and walls keep us from connecting with people around us. Connecting takes courage and vulnerability (thank you Brene Brown) and so we have to be willing to let things be and hold our thoughts and feelings gently.
We have to be willing to see our identity as fluid and let go of the search! We have to be willing...are you willing?
So let me help you learn to be flexible, connect with yourself and others, be vulnerable, and live a full life. Go ahead and put on any mask you choose because who you are is flexible and that is okay! Just take the time to connect with how you want to be.
Don't forget that this journey of life can be a tough one. Take a moment to always have compassion for yourself as you bloom and grow.
And come see me so I can help guide you on this journey of identity, vulnerability, compassion, courage, and flexibility.
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Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.