Mental HealthMH Men's Mental Health

Take Off Your Mask

Are you wearing a mask? (No, I’m not talking about Covid here).

What I mean is are you showing a face to the world that feels completely at odds to what is going on inside?

Projecting what the world and the people around you want to see, instead of the truth? Let me tell you, you’re far from the only one.

So many of us, and men in particular, feel we have to hide the truth of who we are, and how we feel, from the world.

Perhaps the worst of it is that, like Darth Vader, so many people don’t remove the mask until it’s too late, spending their whole lives being who or what they are ‘expected’ to be, instead of who they truly want to be.

Having to ‘fit in’ with the lads.

Having to be ‘the strong one’ for their family (as if showing any signs of emotion or weakness was a fault, rather than, you know, being human).

Being ‘the provider’ and doing a job that kills their soul to put food on the table.

We can’t complain can we? No, we do what we’ve always done, we get on with it.

Until we can’t anymore.

At worst, carrying the burden of others’ expectations, feeling the need to live and be a certain way at the expense of who we truly are, can lead to huge stress, unhappiness, and even depression.

Knackers to that. It’s time to take off our masks.

But wait a minute, didn’t Darth Vader die when he took his mask off?

Well, technically yes, but look a little deeper.

In another sense, he was reborn, able to finally be who he truly was, having released the pain and anger that had twisted him and blackened him inside, when the mask was removed and the light could break through.

It’s not easy – we may not know quite what lies beneath the mask, having worn it for so long. We might be afraid of others’ reactions to us when we reveal ourselves as we are. And we may be scared to face the uncertainty of what comes next, and the changes we will need to make to finally get rid of the mask for good.

But I’ll tell you what’s worse: continuing to be suffocated by the mask, today, tomorrow, next year, 10 years’ time…

It doesn’t have to be that way.

So I ask you, what mask are you wearing?

And take a few moments to ask yourself, what could your life be if you take off the mask and live life fully, fearlessly, and on your own terms?

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