Today’s post is an excerpt from the first chapter in my book.
Lemme know if you relate to what I’m describing here!
“It’s pretty normal for us humans to “wear a mask” as we engage the world on a day-to-day basis. This mask or persona, which we also call “ego”, is a way for us to protect a more authentic and vulnerable part of ourselves from the random irritants and toxicities of everyday life. This ego mask version of ourselves is a way for us to give an impression of being a certain way that may fit whatever occasion we feel is needed. A problem arises, however, if we rarely take this mask off in order to allow ourselves to show a deeper, more authentic version of who we are to others. Most of my clients have become so accustomed to living their lives wearing this mask that they have assumed the mask now represents who they really are. Not true! The genuine “true self” version of who we really are behind the mask is not shaped by our need to appear in a certain way to others. This authentic inner part of us is simply the unaltered, unedited expression of both the good news and the bad news of our personality. It is both amazing and imperfect all at the same time. However, it is this imperfect piece of our masculine-ness that we hide from others because we fear that our flaws will not only be seen, but that we will then be judged as being undesirable, unmanly, and “not good enough” because we have these flaws. While this fear is understandable, it is also a myth that we as men cripple ourselves by because our imperfections are a part of the definition of being human that every person on the planet has to deal with. I call this our “Inadequacy Myth” because the myth of it is that we think we are lovable only when we are un-flawed and perfect, which is an impossible standard for any human being to achieve. This social standard of perfection holds us hostage to our shortcomings. Another example of this is how women are constantly being judged for their outward appearance by a so-called “Beauty Myth” that is shallow and unrealistic. As a result, women struggle to not judge themselves by this relentless expectation of physical beauty that is unrealistic and oppressive.
When men judge themselves as being “not man enough” or “not good enough” or “not lovable enough”, this gives the Inadequacy Myth rattling around in their heads a lot of power and influence over the choices they make in their lives. This has become a tangible obstacle to a man’s self-worth and happiness that is in deep need of a reality-check. Quite often this Inadequacy Myth comes from the home environment that he was raised in as a boy. Based on his interaction with parents and siblings, a boy’s belief system about his self-worth comes from the milieu that gives him “feedback” about who he is. If that feedback is nurturing and supportive, he will grow up with a sense of self-esteem that will give him confidence about himself and his abilities. If that feedback is judgmental and criticizing, he will grow up believing the lie that he is “not enough”, and this lie will become the story that the “critical voice” rattling around in his head will remind him of whenever he feels his very human limitations.”