Good topic around Halloween, huh?
I was on retreat this past weekend, and the topic of mask came up. I'd say at least 99% of us have worn or continue to wear one or more masks. Some examples are the "tough" mask, the "perfect" mask, the "I'm in control" mask, the "know it all" mask, the "I'm a victim" mask. Those are good for starters.
I have been aware that the figurative masks as referenced above hide our true selves from the world. They can help us to feel safe when we aren't quite confident in our true selves, or don't want others to see the real us. However, I got to thinking about this: if we wore an actual mask, and never took it off, our skin underneath would begin to get icky--the body rebelling against something it realizes is not good for it. And the same thing is true for the figurative masks we wear--if we don't ever take them off, our spirit begins to get icky and the soul (and often body, too) begins to rebel. This can be manifest in mental disorders, addictions, and physical diseases, to name a few.
A retreat is an excellent place to practice removing the masks. [On a side note, it is always interesting to me to see if any women can go the entire weekend without makeup--that's an excellent mask-dropping start.] If retreat is not an option, start with scheduled time alone to explore yourself without masks. There is a beautiful being within that is wanting to shine if only we will let him/her out.
Lastly, I would offer that removing a mask often involves crying, and that's OK. It is a sign of your body expressing relief, and I refer to that as soul-rinsing.
Life is good!