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Imagine attending life and taking off your mask...

Relationships are my favourite topic when it comes to facilitating people.

Relationships have a lot to do with how we construct our worlds. Our relationships with ourselves, our families, friends and partners. Relationships with colleagues and our communities, and so, I was thrilled when I got asked if “people can fall out of love with a person they claimed to be in love with once”.

I don’t believe we fall “in” love in the first place. I believe we grow in love.

Love is something nearly impossible to explain. It is easier to explain what love isn’t than to qualify what it is. So, to “fall into” something as indescribable as that, seems a hard concept.

People all wear masks. We behave in such a way that we think society has deemed “attractive”. We do this in order to come across as the “ideal” man or woman, we crave to be called “date-able” and then finally achieving “marriage material” as our status.

The problem here is that we can’t keep our masks on forever.

Girl meets boy. Girl and boy like how each other look. Boy gets girls number and then boy messages girl asking her if she is “keen for a drink on Friday night?”

Girl is thrilled and accepts. Boy doesn’t message again that week. Boy is very laid back, hardly plans anything in advance and goes with the flow. Girl is a planner, she enjoys planning ahead to juggle her busy schedule.

It’s now Thursday and boy hasn’t messaged girl to confirm drinks. Girl has heard that boy is the laid back, non-committal type so girl doesn’t want to seem obsessive and “plays it cool”. Girl, keen to get to know boy, waits to hear from boy, passing on plans with her friends for Friday night.

Boy messages girl at 17:00 on Friday asking, “what she is up to?”.

Girl sucks up her frustration and replies in a cool way that she isn’t doing much. A few hours later boy meets her out for drinks and they have a lovely time.

Two years go by as they embark on a lovely relationship, both acting accordingly. Boy does what he is supposed to, to keep girl happy, thinking she is as laid back as him. She is always on the same page as him when it comes to going with the flow.

Until one day…

Girl just cannot take it any longer and snaps at boy for never confirming plans. Girl complains that her life feels out of control as she always puts her plans aside for him to confirm his plans and just can’t do it any longer.

Boy says girl has changed, they battle to work it out. More and more, girl seems to be changing right before his eyes, resulting in boy changing too. Girl, having taken off her mask, is loving getting to her plans again and be herself. The relationship ends as she realises she has “fallen” out of love with boy.

Here we can see, too few people know how to be themselves, shaking off the mask and being happy with who is underneath. If more people hung up or better yet, threw away the mask, we would more easily attract another who truly suits us as we are, and be able to grow in love with them.

Mask or not, people enter our lives to challenge us, this results in growth. Growing with someone is the most beautiful thing and is only possible in the long term when there are no masks in the room. This doesn’t mean growing is easy or pleasant at times but those are the times you can be sure that growth is taking place.

Take off your mask.

Grow in love with yourself, and only then, grow in love with someone else.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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