I was driving down the road a few days ago and thinking of my past and past behaviors. I was a runaway wild teen in the '80s, a workaholic in the '90s and by the time the millennium hit, I was a devoted single mom and executive banker. Yet, I still had no idea who I really was. I had masked my emotions for so long (starting in early childhood due to the volatile environment I grew up in) and had gotten used to being in survival mode, clinging tightly to my own extreme behavior.
After surviving violence, abuse and trauma -- including a violent home invasion and kidnapping due to my position in the banking industry -- I began to wake up to myself and started to peel off the masks I had created for myself. One by one, I shed them and it shed new light on what made me tick and what made me head down the path I had traveled. From troubled relationships with men that were directly linked with my troubled relationship with my dad to the need to somehow make my mom proud of me and stand out in the pack of seven children that led to my workaholic tendencies. I began to dissect it all.
When my daughter was diagnosed 10 months ago with severe Multiple Sclerosis, the final layer was on the floor at my feet in the emergency room as she lay paralyzed and blind, unable to speak or swallow. Hiding behind being a single mom melted away as I hit my knees, begging for healing and mercy at her bedside.
We mask emotions with everything from food to sex, from work to pouring ourselves into motherhood to the point that we lose sight of who we are as individuals, not realizing that part of our job is to teach our children how to be an individual. How can we teach that when we are not being the example for them? Taking time out for YOU isn't selfishness. It is self love, and what better lesson can we teach our children? It took me years to figure that out.
The moment I finally looked in the mirror for the first time without any mask and allowed myself to love all of me, to embrace my pain and fear and joy and gypsy-spirited self, I realized that my message to not only my daughter but to the world was one of resiliency. Extreme Resiliency.
Until we unmask ourselves and love all of who we are, we can't really experience extreme resiliency or live a resilient life. What emotions are you masking with extreme behavior?
Dare to unmask. Dare to not hide behind extreme emotions anymore and embrace ALL OF YOU today!