mental health confidence

The Mask I Wear

Posted on Posted in life

mental health confidence

Let me start by saying I am going to be without internet for potentially a significant amount of time.  I am going back to Germany where I have had to cancel my internet connection and because of contract obligations I can’t get a new deal because I am coming back to the UK in a few months, so this might be the last post I publish for a little while.  I will be on Twitter and Facebook still because I have 3G on my phone.  First world problems, I know.

I read a post by Tim from Slouching towards Thatcham where he describes himself as two sides of the same coin; on his blog he appears confident, self assured, and can express himself clearly and concisely but if you met him in person he says you would consider him really quite introverted.  I could really see a lot of myself in this.  If you asked many of the people I’ve met over the years if they thought I was confident, I think all would say yes some would say overly so.  In reality, I appear confident because it’s the role I have to play.  In a family with the history mine has, the responsibility often fell to me to be the assured one, the man with the plan, the one who knew what he was doing.  In the job I have, I am expected to be able to make confident decisions having weighed up all of the reasonable courses of action available and have the ability to instil that confidence in those below me.

The truth is that underneath that confident exterior I am riddled with self doubt and insecurities.  Much like Tim, the thought of going to a large social function scares the living daylights out of me, so BritMums Live will be a true test.  Watching everyone slowly merging into their own little clicks whilst I stand outside of the crowd on the periphery waiting for someone to come to me and chat.  I’m not standing there because I’m arrogant and don’t like to engage with others, it’s because I think I don’t fit in to any of the emerging groups and they won’t like me because they already have so much in common with one another, who am I do barge in on their group.  I’ll deliberately shy away from events that require people to engage with complete strangers because I’m terrified I’ll have nothing to say.  In the past I got over this by drinking, a lot; now I don’t drink, all I have is myself to push me through my insecurities, and unfortunately up to now I have been found wanting.

I also have a crippling fear of failure.  I am blessed that I am quite good at almost everything I have turned my hand to, but my fear of failure stops me from going from good to great.  If I don’t try then I can’t fail and this is why I will always be an average Joe, wallowing in mediocrity barely scraping by, because I am far too afraid to try and risk failure.  It’s because of this fear that I am stood at a career cross roads.  Having decided to stick with my current job, I now have 2 choices: remain in my nice comfortable rut, don’t try to excel and accept my lot; or try hard, do what’s needed to fly up the career ladder, and soar.  My insecurities are pushing me towards the former, because if I don’t try then I don’t have to blame myself for failing.

One of my favourite songs is Beast In Me by Nick Lowe, sometimes I wish I had a beast caged inside me, ready to take control when I’m too afraid to do so, sometimes I wish I were truly the mask I wear, but deep down I’m too scared to be.

Featured image by Shawn Quinlivan, Therapist & Workplace Wellness Expert, Founder Of Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery

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9 thoughts on “The Mask I Wear

  1. After reading this I’ve realised that there are so many of us out there with our own masks we wear to protect us from our own fears. I like you would be the in the corner not wanting to initiate conversion for fear of rejection or in my case ridicule.

    1. Thanks for commenting. If we’re ever at an event together, just come on over and we can sit in awkward silence together.

  2. This is a brilliant post and I can relate to a lot of it. I also used to get a lot of confidence from alcohol and now I don’t drink anymore I have to just fake it and walking into a big room full of people is daunting. I’m not at britmums or I’d chat to you. 😀

  3. This surprised me, you’ve mentioned this before but you wear that mask and you absolutely cannot see the joins.

    You’re a top bloke mate, don’t ever doubt it. I hope we meet some day, because you’re the type of guy I’d happily sit with and have a pint!

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