One of the first steps toward creating a life that fills us with joy and contentment is recognizing the role we play that may be keeping us confined in unhappy, unsatisfying patterns of behavior. Most of us learned our roles early in childhood, but after a certain point, those masks we wear stopped helping us. Which mask do you wear?
Take this quiz to see which role you play. You may recognize the masks your loved ones wear, too!
1. Do you often find yourself thinking, “It should be like THIS” or “They’re doing it WRONG”?
2. Does your striving for perfection sometimes drive you crazy?
3. Do you feel like you will never be good enough?
4. Do you often tell yourself, “I can’t help it” or “It’s not my fault”?
5. Do you find yourself looking to the past and thinking, “It would have been alright if only. . .”
6. Do you look to the future and think “Everything will be alright when. . .”
7. Do you sometimes do things because you think you should or you feel obligated to, but you really don’t want to?
8. Do you commonly tell yourself that making others happy is more important than what you need or feel?
9. Do you often say yes when you really want to say no?
10. Do you often rush in to help people and fix it for them?
If you answered “yes” to 1, 2 or 3, you may be wearing the mask of the Judge. The Judge is the mouthpiece of the Demon of Perfection that says, no matter how good it gets, it will never be good enough.
If you answered “yes” to 4, 5, or 6, you may be wearing the mask of the Victim. The Victim makes up “poor me” stories and is rarely in a state of gratitude or in the present moment.
If you answered “yes” to 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11, you may be wearing the mask of the Prostitute/Rescuer. The Prostitute pretends to be anything you want her to be, compromising herself to get what she wants–which is usually love and acceptance. She hides the truth of how she really feels. The Rescuer is the more respectable face of this mask–the Nurse endlessly mopping the brows of the wounded, the Hero rushing in to make everything better. The problem with this mask is that it subtly (or not so subtly!) tells people, “I don’t respect you enough to believe you can do this yourself.”
There is no shame in having learned to play one of these roles. Most of us did. But we can all learn how to gently put aside the masks that hide our authentic selves.
Inspired by The Power of Belief, by Ray Dodd (Hampton Roads, 2003).