As kids we were intrigued by an honesty game that has been known by many other titles depending on where you grew up and in what generation you grew up in. The game has many twists and turns but the goal is always the same – manipulate others to step out from behind their masks and take risks to expose the real you or expose you to a real challenge. In our neighborhood the game usually ended with a good many hurt feelings.
The idea of dropping our facades that prevent others from really getting to know us is a good thing however, and while it often feels uncomfortable it is seldom a game. If we are to be true to ourselves and to our romantic partners, we must remove our masks.
We originally wear our masks to ensure our acceptance by others. We originally wear our masks to heighten other’s perception of our status. We originally wear our masks to ensure “his” or “her” interest in us.
We might have believed that these masks protected us from rejection and satisfied the profile that we believed others were looking for, but that was seldom the case. We cannot pretend to be someone that we are not without real consequence. The act of masquerading will eventually cut us off from the care of the Higher Power of our understanding that we committed to in our 3rd Step.
Let others see you for who you truly are – the person you asked your Higher Power to care for – and you will be enough.
If you have ever had the opportunity to deliver or receive a 5th Step, you have experienced the acceptance that is possible when one person rightly aligns himself or herself with another. The alignment is one of honesty, openness, and willingness. During these 5th Step encounters we intuitively know that honesty and acceptance are vital elements of the healing experience. We strive to be non-judgmental to those who choose us to receive their inventory.
But what do we do when our partner shares with us? Do we offer the same unconditional love and acceptance that we would offer a stranger? Too often our own fear gets in the way and we want to control or manipulate rather than merely listen. Pray for the patience and grace to be a listener rather than a “fixer.”
Allow those people that you care for to see you without your disguise. If you can do this, the acceptance and love you receive in return will be enduring. You do not need to trick people into liking “who you want them to think that you are”. Take off your masks and give them a chance to like you for who you really are.
You do not really have anything to loose because the games of deception we play as adults have the same outcome as our childhood game of “Truth, Dare, Consequences, Promise to Repeat” – there are no winners!
This article was written by John & Elaine Leadem, senior supervisors of the Leadem Counseling & Consulting offices in Toms River, NJ and East Brunswick, NJ. The content of this article is based on their soon to be published book for couples from Leadem Counseling titled: Awakening To Your Soul Mate: A decision to be IN Love (Leadem & Leadem, 2013)
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Last reviewed: 5 Jun 2013