Halloween and the Masks We Wear

I was at dinner last night at a very quaint restaurant overlooking the pier in Tiburon, California.  The small boats were floating in the dock and the entire skyline of San Francisco lit the landscape in the background.  A black seal was bobbing in the water when we first arrived.  It was very calming and it had the feel of a Caribbean vacation.   For this land locked Colorado Girl, it was a special treat.

The restaurant was small and so when one of the children at a table nearby starting having a tantrum; the rest of us were privy to the noise.  My date and I took noticed but also realized it was 6:30 on a Thursday night and families were entitled to be out with their children.  I know I was out with my sons when they were little.  It took a little while before the father removed the poorly behaved child and all was quiet and tranquil again.

Then like a scene from a horror movie, one couple started having a fight with the owner of the restaurant because the owner had been sitting for a few minutes with that family and they thought she scarified the rest of the patrons for this one family and their unruly children.  The anger and furry in the woman’s attack was startling to witness.  I couldn’t tear my eyes away.  I started to watch as her anger and righteous behavior escalated so far out proportion for the events that had occurred, that she now was more of a spectacle than that small child ever was.

I started thinking about Shadows and how Debbie Ford talked about why good people do bad things.  We all have beliefs about ourselves buried deep in our subconscious. We believe that if we look closely enough at what lies deep within us, we will find something horrible. We resist looking long and hard for fear of discovering someone we can’t live with. We fear ourselves. We fear every thought and feeling we have ever repressed. Many of us are so disconnected from this fear we can only see it by reflection. We project it onto the world, onto our families and friends, and onto strangers. We become so good at this we actually forget that we are wearing masks to hide our authentic selves. We believe we are the persons we see in the mirror. We put blinders over our eyes and plugs in our ears to keep the internal stories we create alive. I’m not okay. I’m not lovable or I do not deserve. I’m not worthy.  So we become martyrs or good girls or people pleasers to prove to the world we don’t have those bad qualities.  But then something triggers us and we react in a way that is so out of proportion with the event.  Thus, why good people do bad things.

This woman was projecting a disowned quality in a big way.  Something in this event triggered her in such an exaggerated way that she couldn’t control her own rage.   She took a lovely evening in a quant restaurant and totally ruined her evening and that of the family with the young children and the restaurateur.   As a life coach I could see so clearly what was happening and it was a dramatic unraveling to observe.

We all have hidden parts to our personalities that we have buried so deeply that we don’t believe they belong to us. One of the reasons this work is so powerful, is when we learn to uncover and own all aspects of ourselves; we stop projecting our disowned qualities on to others and we stop over-reacting and getting triggered out of proportion with reality.

The look on that woman’s face was scarier than any mask she could have bought.  Even if you weren’t intending to get dressed this Halloween, I invite you to consider taking off all the masks you wear and learn to love and accept all aspects of yourself; all the dark and all the light shadows.  Emotional wholeness is the most powerful tool to transformation and happiness.  If you want to learn more about how you became the person you are today and why you attract the kinds of experiences and people in to your life that you do, you should pick up Debbie Ford’s book:  Why People Do Bad Things”.

I wish you a very Happy Halloween….