It takes courage to remove the mask.
We all wear masks. Sometimes our masks change depending on the circumstances. We may wear one mask at work and another when we are shopping at the mall in December. But we all need to take that mask off sometimes. Do you have a safe space where you can find the courage to remove the mask?
The reasons for wearing a mask vary. Often we do it to protect ourselves or to follow what we believe is an expectation about how we present ourselves in the world. At times throughout my career, I have struggled with balancing who I am at my core with the person I must present myself as in my workplace. I no longer believe that and now I know that being exactly who I am, someone who cares for others, someone who can sit with someone while they struggle, someone who encourages others to be fully who they are, makes me a better leader, not a weaker one.
Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that, a story. It takes courage to remove the mask, to share the face, to share the story. I am living my story right now. I have found a place where I can fully remove the mask and just be, without feeling judged or shamed or less than capable. My story has taken a recent turn. One I need to share with a few close people before I can make it public. But know this: my story is one of resilience. It is one of a woman who overcomes obstacles, turns them into stepping stones and thrives. My story is one of struggle and one of never giving up. When I share with you, please allow me to remove the mask and to show you my face. See me for who I am, not what you assume based on negative stereotypes.
My hope for you today is that you find the courage to remove your mask. Maybe not with the world, but within the safety of supportive and loving people.
Sometimes the bravest face you can wear is your own.