What makes us change the way we behave or think just to suit a situation or person? Do we not want to rock the boat or end up in a confrontation so we consider it easier to just not say, or do, anything? What of those we are afraid of or others who we long to love – but never feel brave enough to approach? Each time we don a mask for protection, our true self moves further from view. With each mask, we project how intelligent, worldly, funny, strong or witty we are – wishing to come across as better than we think we are because who we are is not good enough in our eyes.

If we are to live an authentic life, one where we are honouring all we feel and believe, perhaps we need to address our behaviours? Do we have a good reason to change the person we are to suit someone or something else? If we constantly disconnect ourselves from others as well as ourselves, we may cease to relate to anyone at all or understand the person we really are.

When we become so caught up in the life we create for ourselves we really do forget what is real anymore. It’s easier to be the mother, the husband, the taxi-driver, the teacher, the boss, the nurse, the next door neighbour, the in-law, the volunteer etc. We simply spend our time placing one mask on top of the other as we switch our lives around to suit those we spend it with.

How much of ourselves we show anyone is our choice. Our right to privacy and to feeling secure is our choice also. Perhaps we need some perspective and awareness of how we are within the myriad of relationships we have every day? Maybe considering why we believe we need our chosen masks is a place to start? Even if we feel it’s important to continue using them, if we’re honest with ourselves as to why, then our understanding of ourselves might become clearer.

If you have told someone you love them and then felt the pain their silence gives you when you realise they don’t love you back – or when you write something personal and someone laughs at it – or if you try to explain how you’re moved to tears by something you have seen or heard and you are met with blank stares, you become vulnerable and on show because that’s when you bare the heart and move beyond all the pretence. Being hurt like this can close the heart – but people are really beautiful when they take these risks.

There is something so beyond description about a being who is proud to stand in what is real to them and not pretend in order to please someone else. When you can see another’s heart, hear their passion and understand their dreams, you’re witnessing something really special and something not many people ever get to see, let alone actually ‘be’ themselves. When there’s nowhere to hide and no desire to, what can you possibly have to fear? Living from the ‘inside-out’ is a way to experience all of what you bring to this lifetime without adopting the expectations you think others have of you.

Perhaps if we all spent time being concerned with what it means to be us, we might worry less about how others see us and whether or not they like us? Questioning our self-worth is unnecessary when you are comfortable with whom you are and all you feel. You have to live with you forever (and if you ascribe to reincarnation, forever and ever) – so it’s important to strip away the facades to understand what is at the heart of who you are. I believe you are worth that. If you wish to live the life you came here for, then why would you hide from others, let alone yourself?

I can tell you, with more honesty than I can explain, you will learn the most about yourself when you lie vulnerable before others. In that moment, when you choose to be only yourself, you are what spiritual talk calls ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ and it is how you are meant to be.

Humanity is not a popularity contest, nor a race to see who is better than whom. You are actually here for you and, in being you, you are experiencing a real life and hence, being of great service to the all.