As the no make-up selfie craze for cancer research UK started dying off on Facebook it left me thinking in its wake….
I’ll admit when the first few images of friends without their make-up starting appearing in my news feed I prayed no one would ask me to do it. I wear very little make-up but what I do wear is my confidence, I wear it like a mask. However, the inevitable happened and I was asked to bare my face to the world and as I sat at my dressing table trying to take my ‘selfie’ I admit I deleted several attempts. I looked too tired, my smile was false (it’s so hard to do a real smile on a selfie!), the negative self-talk began; it was not good for my self-esteem. Then my girls caught site of what I was doing and they wanted in on the action. As one hung over my shoulder the other jumped up on my knee and bam, one click of the button and I had my selfie; a picture I was happy to post with my bare face to the world. What changed? In a word, love. My children love me unconditionally, they see my bare face every day, my real bare face and they love me! This gives me all the confidence I need.
As more and more images of friends without their make-up started to appear, removing their own masks and leaving themselves completely vulnerable, I noticed just how beautiful they were and I mean that, in fact they were even more beautiful without their makeup! And it got me thinking about all the masks we wear. Our employee mask, the in-law mask, work mask, our mother mask and worst of all ourselves mask. Do you really know who you are anymore? We are so busy trying to be polite, be loved, accepted, respected, heard, to just get by that, for most of us, we have lost touch with who we really are, especially when we become a mother. We are so wrapped up in giving our all to our children that we lose sight of ourselves in the process. As I said in my mother me post, to give the best of ourselves to our children, we have to give to ourselves first and that starts with removing all the masks and getting back in touch with the real you.
As the no make-up selfies started it was also as I wrote my first blog mothering a dream. I’d shared it only with a few other women but after posting my bare face and removing one mask I took the courage and posted that blog on my personal page for all my friends, family and acquaintances to see, to see the real me, heart and soul. My mask was well and truly off and it felt amazing! For the first time in my life I am being the real me. Those who know me would probably say I’ve never hidden it, in fact you don’t get called ‘hippy Vicky’ or ‘the spiritual one’ for nothing (both of which I take as a huge compliment!) but I never really showed my true self to everyone, not even myself.
I’ve spent years trying to figure out who I am; I’ve always felt like such a contradiction. On the one hand I’m this sensitive, quietly spoken, ‘doesn’t like to be centre of attention’ kind of girl who likes to keep the peace but as soon as there is an injustice and things aren’t done fairly I am ready to fight the cause, happy to take centre stage, my inner lioness comes out and I’m ready to pounce. For years I battled with this, who am I? Am I shy and quiet or loud and feisty? The truth is I’m all of those things and more. I always fought hard to understand these different aspects of myself, never knowing who I really was, but now I do and I’m using all the different aspects of myself to bring my dream, my purpose to the world.
The sensitive, honest, quietly spoken, spiritual part of me is what draws people to me. People always open up to me, sharing their troubles in confidence and I love to offer them my guidance. This part of my helps me to truly empathise with others, it helps me to speak from my heart and always with truth and love. Then there is the rebel in me, the one who gets all fired up when things aren’t right, this feisty, determined, strong willed diva that won’t let anyone or anything get in her way. I now understand that these are my strengths (and yes my weaknesses too) and by combining these two completely different aspects of myself I find who I really am, no masks, just me. These allow me to write what people are calling ‘brave and courageous’ posts because that rebel side of me is seeing an injustice in the world and wants to put it right.
I see far too many women wearing masks and losing sight of who they really are, mothers working long hours away from their children and hating every minute, mothers battling depression. I see women burying their dreams because they have to pay the bills and it’s wrong, all wrong. I promise you, it CAN be another way. In the words of the Dalai Lama: “The world will be saved by western woman”
It’s time now for women to remove their masks, find their true selves and then go do whatever it is they came here to do! Even if you don’t know exactly what that is yet, it will come to you in time but just take the first step, let the real you shine through and use those given gifts to make a difference in the world. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your children. Don’t be afraid to be who you really are because who you really are is truly fabulous! (Yes fabulous darling!)
Just as love allowed me to show my face to the world, love will allow you to remove your mask too. I’m talking about self-love; yes loving you. In all the work I’ve done over the years this idea of self-love was the hardest to grasp. I really couldn’t imagine loving myself; I was too busy beating myself up but not now. For the first time in my life I can say I love me and just as well because last week my 4 year old asked me completely out of the blue “mammy do you love yourself?” and I answered honestly “yes I do, I love myself and you should love yourself too”. Only a month ago I could have answered very differently and imprinted a strong and very wrong message in her enquiring mind.
I used to think self-love was a ‘hey check me out I’m the dogs danglys’ kind of love, but it’s not, absolutely not. It’s about acceptance; accepting every aspect of yourself, the good and the bad. It’s about acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses without judgement. When you understand the real you and you love yourself unconditionally, like your children do, you can start to piece together all those different aspects of yourself and use these alongside your passions and talents to ‘mother your dream’.
So let me ask you, do you love you?
Allow that question to dance around in your mind for a few days, see what comes up for you and take whatever steps are necessary to find and love the real you.
It’s time to remove the mask.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts on my crazy ramblings so please leave a comment and if you would like more please sign up using the follow option at the bottom of this blog and get every post direct to your inbox.