We all wear a mask. A mask in this sense is what we want to believe about ourselves and what we want others to believe about us. But to live authentically we intuitively know shedding the mask must happen.

John Sanford in his book The Kingdom Within shares, “Shedding the mask means confronting something in ourselves that is unpleasant and that we do not like.”

Being real, being genuine, living authentically is all about bringing into our awareness what has been hidden in the unconscious.

We hide our so called bad parts, the negative shadowy side of our self, our jealousy, our envy, our hatred, our resentment, our murderous thoughts, our fundamentalism. We hide all the unpleasant parts behind the mask.

It’s true they aren’t our most redeeming qualities. They aren’t pretty parts, fun parts, loving parts. They are parts we try to get rid of, deny we have, and usually are the first to say, “I’m not like that.”

The truth is we are that. We are fundamentalists at some point. When we know we’re right and the other person is wrong and we’ve closed the lid on listening to another’s viewpoint that’s when we’ve put on our fundamentalist hat.

One thing I love about Buddhism is to acknowledge whatever emotion arises into our consciousness, to welcome those feelings, to acknowledge they exist. The trick is pausing long enough to identify how we’re feeling.

Who wants to make friends with our negative feelings? It goes against the grain. Denying we have them is more the norm. And again, most of the time we’re quick to spot those parts in others, but can’t see them in our actions, inactions, and reactions.

A person I know and love is 9/10 negative, negative, negative. When I leave her presence I’m drained the only place I want to be is in my safe serene home. The other day after I got home I started complaining to my husband about this person. He agreed and for about 10 minutes we joined forces complaining. Then all of a sudden it me.

I’m her.

I’m complaining about her being negative and I was doing exactly the same thing. So self-righteous I can be. I started to laugh, finally getting it, finally realizing how I am what I hate at times. It taught me a lot.

Self-awareness gives us a moment to catch our thoughts, and quickly reflect on how we want to react to things.

When a negative thought or feeling comes out of hiding we aren’t here to judge it. We are here to make friends with it. To be compassionate with our self and 9/10 a healing begins. We begin to explore and understand the why behind the reaction and take care of our self.

You see negative thoughts/actions aren’t bad guys they are valuable and when listened to and not denied will make us a more humble, loving, compassionate human being.

Thank you for all the inner work you do. The work you do to wake up and catch yourself. The world is a better place for it.

– Sandy Powers, Life Coach


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