“Whether viewing your life on a personal, professional, or spiritual level, the experience of ego can often feel like the journey of an actor who is always eager to find their next milestone of reinvention. Just like an actor attends auditions hoping to book their next biggest starring role, it is common for interactions in our lives to be like mentally-rehearsed performances, instead of authentic moments of engagement. Similar to how actors attempt to appeal to casting directors, we often present ourselves in a way that all but guarantees the gift of outside approval. Not unlike actors who face countless rejections in a row, when approval is not received, it is easy to be lost in a web of self-manipulation, wondering “who must I become to be worthy to them?”
The ego often exists in an exhausting, inflated, and unfulfilling pattern of shapeshifting, willing to morph at a moment’s notice, whenever there is a chance to be the object of someone else’s desire. Whether wondering how to attract your ideal soulmate, attempting to find the right hook to be seen by the world as an expert in your field, trying to climb the ladder of success in your career, or merely desperate for the attention that you insist only other people can provide, it’s easy to work so hard at being “all things to all people” that you completely lose sight of who you are when no one is looking. When our lives are not lived out as endless campaigns for greater popularity, without going in the opposite direction of rejecting others first to avoid any potential rejection, we settle into who we really are as an eternal expression of innocence and authenticity.
Just as business strategies shift and move to capture the interest and approval of the largest market share, on an individual level, we often can be so consumed by the needs of others that we live as actors, who forgets the one who plays each role. Perhaps one of the most courageous moments of evolution throughout your spiritual journey is the willingness to remove each mask of external approval, as a way of inviting the world to know who you really are. The unmasking of ego doesn’t require “rocking the boat” by disagreeing with the viewpoints of family members, or needing to convince someone how unlike their expectations you’ll always be. Instead, it is a peaceful joy of occupying space in whatever way naturally resonates with you.
This means we don’t have to disagree with others to be more like ourselves, or pretend to agree to keep other people happy. When we dare to be authentic, we can be happy for other people’s opinions, grateful they have discovered the beliefs they are so passionate about, even when such beliefs and opinions become judgments against you. Simply put, no one’s mask of ego triggers or bothers you, unless you are wearing an ego mask as well.
When two people are both wearing masks, either hiding from the rejection they hope to avoid or eager for the validation they insist only others can provide, social interactions become stressful proving grounds, where any depth of conflict is felt by those who aren’t fully being themselves. No matter how hard you work at being the most capable or impressive character to the other characters around you, there is a true depth of happiness awaiting your arrival that does not require any degree of maintenance or micromanagement. It comes to life from the inside out as a confirmation that you are allowing yourself to be who you actually are. Being who you are isn’t a career title, an earned degree, a credential of popularity, a calling card, or a mission statement of any kind. Instead, your most authentic self is the living expression of your most natural and endearing qualities.
As the ego is unmasked, your imagination is freed from the performance anxiety of trying to perform your best attributes, so you can simply be the attributes that are always within you. While other people may not always recognize the beauty and perfection of your most authentic offerings, it is only because they are so often blinded by the masks they wear and so eager to receive outside approval, they fail to recognize how admiring the qualities of others allows the innocence within themselves to feel seen, heard, and valued.
As we shift our awareness from waiting to be admired to admiring the qualities of others, we discover the validation that has always dwelled within us, but couldn’t awaken within, until the very gift of approval you desired became the very thing you offer. From this deeper understanding of unity consciousness, each and every mask of ego is given permission to dissolve to bring forth your highest and most authentic expression of light. Instead of trying to concoct the perfect marketing plan, whether on a personal or a professional level, we simply dare to be who we already are, offering approval to the innocence within us by daring to recognize, honor, and admire the innocence of others.
In a day and age where anyone can become an overnight celebrity of their own social media page, may we use whatever popularity is offered as a sincere platform to inspire and uplift the lives of those around us. May we lead by example, offering to others the very encouragement, approval, and acceptance that heals each heart from the hurt it carries, protects, and projects onto others. May we offer space to those caught in the depths of a healing crisis, not needing to be anyone’s stepping stone or emotional punching bag, when we can offer distance healing by acknowledging their most innocent qualities from afar. May we finally resolve the long-standing belief that someone or something on the outside is going to make life feel better, when such a transformation occurs by admiring in others the very qualities your heart yearns for others to notice in you. This is how we fully become ourselves. It is how the ego is unmasked in the most direct, profound, and heart-centered way.”