Here are a few fun facts about me:
I AM INSECURE.
I CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME.
AND, I DON’T LIKE BEING VULNERABLE!
Now, is that unmanly to say??? Maybe…
10 years ago, I would have definitely said yes. Back then, I was a completely different person.
If you ask anyone that I went to high school with what they remember about me they would probably use some or all of the following adjectives: arrogant, cocky, immature, talkative and at times, an ass…
When I was younger, I thought I was hot shit. Well, not really but I assumed the role of a guy who thought he was “hot shit.”
In school, I did all the things I thought I needed to in order to be seen by others as “cool” and “confident”.
I played sports, I had a lot of friends, I acted tough in the hallways and perhaps most importantly, I had a lot of girlfriends.
Growing up playing sports and the ecosystem of high school turned me into an egotistical competition junkie and having a father who lived vicariously through my athletic achievements only exacerbated my desire to be the “best.”
With this as my mental framework, it’s no wonder I became insecure and fearful over time. I knew I had to keep up this facade of confidence and manliness lest I be seen for what I really was—anxious and apprehensive
I saw almost everything as an opportunity to show how worthy I was and that “I was the man.” Life for me was about proving people wrong and accumulating admiration though accomplishments.
Too many times on my way to prove my worth and my manliness, I lived my life with little considerations for others because it was about me and no one else.
For example, in high school and in most of college I treated girls like shit as a way to show them I was somehow “worthy” of their time. I didn’t know how to be confident so I overcompensated and pretended to be an asshole, but the truth was, I was terrified of being rejected by girls. So I treated them poorly as a way to detach myself emotionally when my relationships would inevitably fall apart.
In college, I became somewhat of an elitist and any empathy I had towards other people soon disappeared. I compared myself to others based solely on “social status” and acted superior to those I deemed “inferior.” My disdain for the less “cultured” was purely fueled by my own insecurity but clearly, I didn’t see it that way at the time.
I did all of this to prove I was a MAN and that I was worthy of respect.
But here’s the thing: It was all a lie!!!
I hated being an ass! I hated treating others like crap! I hated pretending that I was like a robot without any emotions.
The truth is, I have always been someone who cares about other people. In reality, I always was compassionate and empathetic towards others.
Even as a kid I showed glimpses of compassion. Whether I was at school, playing sports or at camp, I always made it a point to reach out to the kids who, for whatever reason, were shunned by the group. Back then, I can remember times when I literally couldn’t have fun unless I knew everyone was having fun.
It wasn’t until I got older that I started accumulating all these masks. As I grew older and the stakes grew higher I suppose, I thought the only way I could be a man was to cut myself off from feeling and emotions like my dad did and so many other “men” before me!
So, for years I put on one mask after another until one day, I didn’t know who the hell I was anymore.
I looked at my life and I looked at how I treated people and it truly made me sad. I was a fraud and the worst part was I didn’t even pretend to be something cool.
No…. I chose to pretend I was an asshole!
This “asshole persona” only got me so far… Sure I had “success,” friends, a girlfriend (now wife) but deep down I was unhappy.
Why is that? On the outside it looked like I had it all!
There is a theory in psychology called congruence.
Basically, the theory states that we all have a mental image of ourselves and when we deviate from this mental image, it causes suffering and mental strain.
For me, I always knew I was a good person! I knew in my heart that I really did care about others and I, like most people, just wanted to be loved and accepted.
This was really how I saw myself but because I was playing the role of “cool guy,” I suffered immensely in the form of insecurity and self-defamation.
Not only was I living incongruently, but I was also killing myself for it. Nothing I did was good enough and no amount of success would truly make me happy at that point in my life.
It wasn’t until I started meditating that I realized I was living a lie and that I had covered my real self with more masks than I could count.
Through meditation I can now see the real me that’s always been there:
The me that’s INSECURE but who CARES FOR OTHERS.
The me that’s COMPETITIVE but wants to HELP AS many PEOPLE as he can.
The me that likes to WIN but likes SPENDING TIME with the PEOPLE HE LOVES even more.
At the end of the day, through mediation and things like therapy, I’ve learned that life isn’t really about “finding yourself.”
Instead, life is about REMEMBERING who you’ve always been and removing the masks that you’ve accumulated over the years.
The more I practice meditation, the more I journal, and the more I go to therapy, the more I remember who I’ve always been.
For the first time in my life, I feel like a MAN and if I hadn’t learned to listen to my mind through mediation I might not have found the man within me.
Thank you for reading todays blog post! We hope you enjoyed and we would love to hear your story. What masks have you had to remove from your persona over the years? How’d you do it? Through meditation? Through mindfulness? Through therapy? Either way we’d love to hear it!
Until next month,
Many Many blessings!