Running on a few hours of sleep, house is a mess, and the to-do list continues to grow. It feels like there are not enough hours in the day to do everything, let alone to do things well. Maybe your compassion dwindles, your hygiene worsens, you resort to fast food instead of cooking healthy meals, and you zone out in front of the television instead of interacting with loved ones.
"How are you today?"
"I'm fine, everything's great."
Clients say this daily, not realizing that your fancy mask makes it more obvious that you're not being real. The feathers and shimmery filigree may distract other people, but your counselor is trained to see these as warning signs that something isn't right.
People construct and wear masks in response to many different thoughts/concerns:
Talking about the ugly painful stuff sucks, so it's easier to hide it.
The real stuff may be embarrassing... what if someone judges me?
What if I scare them away and they reject me?
What if its worse than I thought? I'm not sure I can handle it.
It won't ever change, so why bother exposing it?
I've tried getting real in the past and it didn't help me.
No one cares about the real me, they (and I) prefer the mask.
Whatever the reason, masking problems is exhausting! All the time and effort you have to put into developing a cover can be better spent on healing what you're trying to hide. Therapy is a safe place to take the mask off and get real. For real. Consider these truths:
Counselors are people too and do not expect perfection from anyone.
The mask blocks treatment from the source of the problem.
Taking off the mask gets easier and easier.
Therapy goes at your pace, so you can become comfortable with revealing your true self as you are ready.
Your counselor has heard worse. They may look like a creampuff, but I promise you, the've seen and heard some serious stuff.
If you cannot expose yourself in this safe, confidential, judge-free zone, what makes you think you can do it in your daily life? You have to start somewhere.
True freedom = Being real.
We named our counseling practice THRIVE because we believe people do not have to "just get by" with their lives, but that they can rise above their problems and thrive in their daily lives. If you aren't thriving, you feel like something is missing or a little off, or you are in full struggle mode, therapy can be a first step to learn some valuable tools to get you into thrive mode.