As a kid growing up, I used to watch Georgia Championship Wrestling. One of my favorite characters was Mr. Wrestling #2 (Creative name, right?). He had a mask and I thought he was really cool. About once a month, there was a match where the bad guy cheated, of course, and would start trying to take the mask off Mr Wrestling #2. I would always start yelling at the TV hoping Mr Wrestling could hear me and somehow overcome. Every time, he would get a sudden burst of strength and overcome (I knew it was because I yelled loud enough!). Masks are great for wrestling, but not good for Dads to wear in real life
As Dads, we have to make sure that we don’t wear an emotional mask. I say emotional because we don’t usually wear a real mask, but too often we can wear an emotional one that keeps us from building strong relationships. If you are married and have kids, they need you to be growing emotionally and not hiding emotionally. Too often as men, we can get so busy and distracted with life that we never take the time to check to see if we have a mask, much less take it off.
To see if we are wearing a Dad mask, we must start by slowing down long enough to even ask the question. As Dad’s, we are busy, but often times busyness becomes an excuse to not do something we don’t want to do. Everybody is busy, but you have to prioritize some time to slow down and even ask yourself if you are wearing a mask. You do that by asking a few questions of yourself and some close friends.
The first question to ask: “How genuine am I with those closest to me and how often do I put up a front of having it all together?” This is a question you can ask whether you are married or not. How real are you with those closest to you? Do you pretend or are you honest about all the things you are going through. Honesty is not weakness, in fact honesty is courage on display. How real are you around your spouse or your good friends? If you can’t take your mask off around your closest relationships, you will never achieve the intimacy you need.
Taking your mask off doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not like the cheap paper ones so many are wearing right now with the ear loops that never quite hold firm! You have to be intentional about taking your emotional mask off. One of the best ways to do this is to learn about yourself. Why do you do the things you do? If you have never done a personality assessment, do one and see how much it fits you. Those can really help you see the reasons you act the way you do. This also helps you understand why other people act differently from you.
The other way to remove the mask is to begin journaling. I am a big proponent of journaling because I believe it helps a man connect with what he truly thinks and feels. Too often we are fighting in the battle of life and we never take time to process why we do what we do. If we never take time to process, we will wear ourselves out and start looking for other ways to relieve our stress and usually those things hurt us in the long run. Get a good journal and start learning how to take your own mask off. Your relationships will grow stronger.
Father’s day is coming up. Why not do something different this Father’s day and give your family the gift of the real you? Take some time to begin removing your mask. You will be a stronger man for it.
There are all kids of resources to help you grow as a man at www.davidthemaxwell.com. My passion is to empower you to live your adventure.