We can wear physical masks for Halloween, cosplay and Día de los Muertos, as an actor or other performer, for a masked ball or erotic play – all that can be fun.
But when we emotionally mask parts of ourselves such as our high sensitivity to survive or get along socially, our comfort may come at the cost of being authentic.
Lady Gaga is known for elaborate costumes and masks in her stage performances as a musician.
But she comments about being vulnerable as an actor:
“I remember very, very well, walking down the stairs in my house before we filmed the screentest for A Star Is Born and [director Bradley Cooper] had a makeup wipe in his hand and he put his hand on my face and went like this (mimes wiping the face) and said, ‘I want no makeup on your face’.
“This vulnerability is something that he brought out in me, and for someone that doesn’t necessarily feel safe being that vulnerable, it was such a special experience.
“He made me feel so comfortable”.
Do you mask who you are to an unhealthy extent?
Edward Bonapartian addresses this in an article for Sensitive Evolution.
Here is an excerpt:
Being Comfortable In Your Own Skin
For highly sensitive people, it is very easy for us to feel the emotions and unspoken attitudes of those around us.
During our interactions with others, if our intuitive sensitivity prompts a negative reaction from them, we are painfully aware of it.
And, if over time this pattern repeats on an ongoing basis, we can become very hesitant to show our sensitivity at all.
In my own life, as a child raised in a household where I was taught that men didn’t cry or show much emotion, I could feel my father’s disapproval whenever I got too emotional.
There was always that unspoken judgment hanging in the air between us.
Being that I could sense the emotions of the people around me very easily, this mindset created a conflict with my sensitivity when I was growing up.
Funerals were especially difficult where I would feel overwhelmed by the mourner’s emotional energy circulating within the room.
Taught that crying in public was taboo, I would fight my sensitivity to keep my emotions in check.
Now sitting in a restaurant many years later, I found it ironic that right around Halloween when it is tradition to don a mask in order to elicit a specific response from those around you, I realized that I had been following that pattern most of my life; hiding my sensitivity behind a mask of acceptable social behavior.
Learning To Accept Our Intuitive Sensitivity
To be comfortable in our own skin means we have to be accepting and nurturing to the gifts our sensitivity bestows us in the face of a culture where being highly sensitive with intuitive sensitivity may not generate a favorable response.
The key here is to stay focused on our values; following our values keeps us authentic which in turn allows us to acknowledge, and work with the gift of our sensitivity.
Living A Meaningful Life
In his Extraordinary Living Program, author Stephen Cope points out that in order to live a meaningful life requires we not only work with our gift but acknowledge the sacrifice which often accompanies it.
For Highly Sensitive People, working with the gift of our sensitivity may require us to sacrifice the emotional need to fit in by not attracting unwanted attention.
Read more in the article:
Masking Our Intuitive Sensitivity by Edward Bonapartian.
Edward Bonapartian is the author of Reflections on the Art of Balance – practical wisdom for balancing your life through mind, body, and spirit, and, The Stories of Our Lives – a story of healing through dreams and intuition.
“We cannot be anyone we want to be. We can only authentically be who we are.” — Stephen Cope
Get a free video teaching with Kripalu Scholar-in-Residence Stephen Cope – Living A Life of Purpose.
Maria Hill is Founder of Sensitive Evolution and The Emerging Sensitive Community.
She is author of book The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide for Finding Your Place in the World.
One of her programs is The Energy Course For Sensitive People.
Contents include :
“Learn how to let your own personal development help you with feeling more secure in social situations. Discover the connection between being inner-directed and managing energy.
“Learn 13 energy techniques for managing energy overwhelm.
“Start using several meditations for managing energy and releasing past emotional pain.
“33 modules covering the biology of energy, the social side of energy management and energy management techniques.”