Don’t let wearing the COVID mask becomes your norm

“Virtue has a veil, vice is a mask.” – Victor Hugo

At the beginning of the year, some people began wearing masks as a prevention to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, as we start to realise very quickly how our lives have changed and will continue to change. What we used to know as ‘normal’ is no longer. Out with the old and in with the new, I’d say.

The experiences, feelings and emotions felt during those months of isolation can be overwhelming. The loneliness and isolation can be difficult for many people. The longing and yearning kick in, as a human being is essentially a social animal.

After months of lockdown, how can we begin to start venturing out? Some people are excited by finally being allowed to socialise again. Some people are still cautious and only go out to meet family and friends. Some people go out without care. However, many people manage to leave mindfully with respect and considerations for others by wearing masks.

“Nothing is more real than the masks we put on to show each other who we are.” – Christopher Barzak

I want to discuss the concept of masking in Psychology further.

Masking is a process which an individual uses as a way to deflect, hide or conceal their natural personality, traits and attitude to conform to the socially acceptable behaviours, depending on culture and societies in which we live. On many occasions, we are often unaware that we are even wearing a mask because of the way we were taught and learned. When we’d been conditioned to behave, think, or act in a particular manner, we can become so accustomed to masking that we might have difficulties finding our true Self. Just another actor acting out a part!

I could go into the psychological benefits behind why people preferred to wear a mask, but I don’t believe that it would be helpful to further strengthen the person’s psyche. What I prefer to do is to look at the positives and address the usefulness of removing our masks.

“When you wear a mask for so long, you forget who you are beneath it.” – Alan Moore

Some of those benefits include becoming authentic in your way of being, becoming open to directly ‘see’ the person with your heartfelt ‘sight’. When we are not wearing our masks, we are opened to our vulnerability, which is a positive quality, rather than defensively thinking that it is negative. It is when you are not coveted that you can expand your senses with a wider peripheral sensory acuity. Thus, when the masks are removed, you can see the world with Shoshin’s eyes. I’d come to these conclusions from years of training, experiences and dealing with personal challenges.

Fear not, I can offer some helpful tips to those individuals who’d like to remove their (psychological) masks – but keep the COVID-19 cover on (for now). Here’s how:

      • Be responsible for your action, reaction and behaviours

Taking ownership of anything that you do or say is one of the most empowering ways of removing the mask of your false Self. It is a simple act of Self-expression, and it is altruistic in your demonstration of transparency and honesty in the interaction with another.

      • Acknowledge your flaws and learn to love them

If you think that your bum looks big, or your belly is bloated, either do something healthily about it or learn and find a way to like your body. If you dislike your imperfections and flaws, you probably need to internally reflect on your belief systems. Acknowledging your flaws and learning to love them is a form of acceptance and love for the Self. Ask yourself, is it possible to be perfect all the time? Is it possible to expect that you need to do something perfectly each time? What a waste of your energy because it is practically impossible. Everyone, everywhere have flaws.

      • Find your Self-acceptance

Self-acceptance can take time to develop. It is with patient, understanding and love that you can find a way to accept yourself and things you dislike within or without. Find a way to assent to yourself, your body, your self-image, your abilities and skills, including your limitations. To have acceptance is to accept the positive and the negative about yourself as the way you are without having to change, do or act differently in situations. Acceptance is the acquiescence of Self – the Latin acquiēscere (to find rest in).

      • Discover Self-love

This is my most favourite, discovering Self-love. It is the most rewarding, with warmth and positive energies. It is also one that most people often find it difficult to express or acknowledge. Before starting my counselling/psychotherapy training, it was undoubtedly amiss. But, it is never ever too late to discover Self-love, whatever life position you are at. Love starts with you when you find your self-love, you will emit love for others and the world unless of course, you have a heart-wall (an energetic blockage to the heart). Self-love comes with many omnipotent experiences such as joy, happiness, playfulness, spontaneity and many more. Self-love also acknowledges all of the above.

      • Smile at yourself, and at your faults

Even if you don’t feel like smiling at yourself, it is worth doing it. See for yourself! Smile into a mirror and see inside yourself. What do you feel? If you feel positive, even though you have scars, stretch marks, birthmarks etc. then you are on the way to removing those pesky masks.

There are many other ways to take your masks off. Perhaps you have found another helpful way that works for you. I’d love to hear about some of the things that work for you.

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