We just experienced Halloween and the fun of costumes and Trick-or-Treating. I know many people who really get into the costuming of Halloween and love the thrill of devising the outfit from the shoes to the hair…and any good costume is only complete with a mask.
The idea of dressing up and being someone or something else for an evening is interesting as many of my friends who love Halloween and costumes tell me it’s fun to forget your trials and troubles for a time. To put on the mask of whatever character you have chosen for the night.
While it may be fun to wear a mask for an evening, in the broader context of life, I think many people wear masks every day and do not show their authentic selves. Even LEO’s.
Many of you wear the mask of police officer everywhere you go. Rather than switching from your parent mask, spouse/partner mask, son or daughter mask, friend mask, you wear the mask of COP every day, all day.
This has to be draining…living in cop mode all the time. Certainly, it’s not healthy for relationships. Most people want to be friends with YOU. Your spouse desires to be married to YOU. Your kids want YOU as their parent – not Officer YOU.
Switching masks can be tough because the mask we wear most often is the one that usually begins to feel the most comfortable. Like that old pair of sweatpants. It molds to us well and just feels comfy. But just like that old pair of sweatpants, it’s not appropriate for all occasions and neither is the cop mask.
You know that weird Scream mask from the movies? Well, the power behind that mask – or any mask – comes from using it in just the right settings and at the right time sparingly. If the villain wore it in every scene and you saw it constantly throughout the entire movie. The mask becomes a lot less scary and effective.
So, let the mask drop sometimes. Laugh. Love. Be present as a spouse, a parent, a friend. Do not see every interaction through the eyes of the cop mask. Take it off. Breathe. You’ll be happier for it. Your relationships will be healthier. Your perspective more on target. Just be YOU.
As always, Psychological Services is here to support you! Give us a call at 832-394-1440 to schedule an appointment.