Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • March 2015
Written by 

Behind the mask — Finding and nurturing the authentic you

How many times has someone asked you, “How’s your day going?”, and you replied with a smile and said “good” while inside you were battling a rollercoaster of emotions related to depression or anxiety?

Many of us keep our struggles under a “mask.” We need help, but we don’t ask for it. We want to be real, authentic and even vulnerable, but we feel we can’t because it’s too risky. We feel we appear flawed or weak. But, what we don’t realize, is that most people wear masks. Everyone has challenges.

Our lives often run on autopilot. We race almost blindly through overscheduled days, most of us too busy to look within and hear our hearts crying out — pleading for reprieve, for peace, for self-compassion.

Why is it so scary to stop and listen to the silence? What will we hear? Will we realize we need to make changes in our life? Will we see that it is OK to be honest and say we can’t do it all?

To become connected with our authentic self — to be real and vulnerable — we must first listen with silence to our heart.

What’s under your mask? If you have a mental health challenge, are you getting the help you need? If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, are you speaking up? If you are overwhelmed, are you asking for help?

We must first begin by removing our mask, even if it’s only during meditation when we are alone. Start by sitting quietly in a private place where you will not be disturbed. Focus on your breathing. Deep breaths, in and out. Listen to relaxing music if you wish, or sit in complete silence. Pay attention to your heart beating. Feel your feet on the ground. Allow your thoughts to pass through your mind with gentle observation. Do not be afraid to look within. It’s OK! Have your journal ready to write and reflect after you are finished with your meditation.

When you are ready for the next step, confide in a friend, counselor or life coach. Once you begin to take steps in a direction that moves you closer to your authenticity, you will begin to feel more peace in your life. When you remove your mask, you will realize that there was nothing to fear. You can be real, authentic and yes, even vulnerable. The path you are destined to follow will become clearer day by day.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

—Lao Tzu

Lisa Klarner

Lisa Klarner is a speaker, consultant and the author of “Releasing the Secret Pain: Moving Beyond Social Anxiety Disorder.” She is an expert in social anxiety disorder because she’s been there — she struggled with social anxiety for many years. Lisa is the owner of Peaceful Horizons, and specializes in social anxiety disorder education. She uses her own experiences with social anxiety and her passion for educating people on the disorder to deliver powerful presentations and workshops. Check out Lisa’s website,, email [email protected] or call 920-475-5252.

Subscribe Today
Community Partners Directory
Find a Newsstand
Community Calendar