“I committed my life to unmask us all.”
Those were the opening words of Atira Charles, Ph.D., founder and executive director, of The Mask Project, and management professor at Florida A&M University, as she led a full room on how to discover your most authentic self while decorating your own masks and exposing the false face put on for the world.
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First, Charles asked the women to share how barriers hold them back from being vulnerable and transparent while meeting the demands of life.
On cue, the women quickly wrote down what was holding them back from being honest with themselves and others. Next, they wrote words on a mask that described their deepest fears, held the masks up to their faces, and shared their insecurities with the person next to them.
After explaining the process, Charles led the women through a mantra, “Today I choose to unmask, to be more whole, to be more full, to be more authentic and to walk in my purpose….” The women cheered as the room seemingly felt more relaxed. Finally, Charles guided the women as they wrote down their positive aspects and how that helps them be their whole selves.
Here are some tips from Charles on how you can unmask and reveal the real you in your personal and professional life:
1. Have a peace about all of your aspects and control how you show up in the world
2. Being in control helps you manage how you wear masks and when
3. Don’t just focus on unmasking yourself to the world, but in those quiet moments alone, be honest and have those difficult conversations with yourself
Oftentimes, we wear different masks unconsciously to function in the everyday as a way to protect our interests, the interests of others, and establish emotional safety. With free coaching sessions and gifts at the end, Charles gave women the courage and framework to walk in the world comfortable in their own skin.