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Relationships 101: Stop Hiding and Get Out From Behind The Curtain

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It wasn’t too long ago I saw Oz The Great and Powerful. The movie is about how Oscar “Oz” Diggs becomes “the Great Oz” as we know him in The Wizard of Oz. He’s a circus magician, a con artist, and a bit of a scum. He’s an illusionist and relies wholly on trickery. When he finally becomes “the Great Oz” his smoke and mirror deceptions take on a whole new level.

A lot of films are about how the hero finds his identity, so it’s interesting this one is about a shady magician who doesn’t really embrace his true self, but as the hero becomes an even larger-than-life fraud.

As I was on a walk with my wife, I couldn’t get this fictional character off my mind. I felt sorry for Oscar. Maybe it’s because I know too many Great Oz’s who are wasting years of their lives behind curtains. By the time an unforeseen circumstance pulls them out, they are old and lonely. They might not front with projections and billowing smoke, but they hide behind money, status, accomplishments, boats, multi-million dollar homes, etc. At some point, there’s a humbling experience and the mask has to be taken off. Why wait?

As a pharmaceutical rep, I used to sell an anti-depressant drug to doctors. An interesting tidbit I learned is that men are less likely than women to admit depression. Men are often too prideful to ask for help, so depression will sometimes manifest in physical pain. In fact, physicians can diagnose depression through symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, back pain, etc.

If you’re hiding behind a curtain while maintaining a tough exterior, you can’t hide from pain. It will find you. It will manifest in some form or other whether it’s broken relationships, addictions, etc.

I spent many years hiding behind a curtain during high school. On the outside, everything looked perfect, but my insides were screaming from depression and even suicidal thoughts. I thought I had no one to turn to. When you wear a mask, you create a fake environment around yourself, so even your friendships can be inauthentic.  I literally had to start again from the ground up.

I’ll give a more practical example. Years ago, I walked into a waiting room to discover a very beautiful representative from another company. Because I had no swag, I proceeded to give the Great Oz version of myself. “Uh yeah, so how are your sales doing? I’m #1 in the company now. Sure hope I get President’s Council this year. Oh you went to Missouri State too? I was Homecoming King when we were in school. Yeah, pretty cool.” Needless to say, she was NOT impressed.

I should’ve been listening to Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on repeat. There is beauty in vulnerability, or for us guys, vulnerability is handsome. Either way, a manufactured image is never holistically attractive. You may have the looks, but do you have true confidence?

How can we become a more authentic man, more vulnerable?

Here are 5 practical ways to get out from behind the curtain.

1. Be humble

If I feel any need to justify why I’m in a conversation with someone, that’s a red flag. If I feel compelled to describe my profession, what car I drive, where I live, then I know humbleness is about to fly into cyberspace.

2. Be real

People cannot relate to perfection, so why do we insist on presenting that image? If you feel uncomfortable somewhere, just say it. If you’re a dork like me, admit it. Know yourself and don’t be afraid to be him.

3. Be spontaneous

I can also tell if authenticity is slipping from my fingertips when I try to conform and act like everyone around me. Los Angeles is the scene of all scenes. Maybe everyone believes they are on camera? So, I usually break it within me by doing something really awkward and getting the ego out of the way. I had a talent agent friend tell me to stop it one time (probably many times), but at least I’m now free to be myself.

4. Be open

Sometimes I will walk in a room of accomplished people and feel inferior. Break it. Ask some questions. I try to go into learning mode instead. Go into the conversation with the willingness and desire to hear everything about a person.

5. Be aware

Sometimes the moment has passed, so get out of there. If it’s fear, have some courage, but if you have overextended your welcome, listen to your intuition. Just this past week, I experienced the turning point and I slowly put on a mask before I pulled myself out of the situation.

Bottom line is, unapologetically be yourself. Even if you’re messed up, at least she’ll know what she’s getting into. But if you’re putting on the lovey dovey act to get her attention, and then you decide to take off the mask six months in, you’re causing unneeded pain for both of you. Drop the act. Open the curtain. Step into the light and be the man you are called to be.

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8 Responses to Relationships 101: Stop Hiding and Get Out From Behind The Curtain

  1. 1 + The One April 9, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Great post! There’s indeed beauty in vulnerability!

    • Kris Wolfe April 10, 2014 at 3:47 am #

      Thank you 1+the One! My wife and I are now 2+the One 🙂

  2. Jorge M April 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Hey! Awesome post as always Kris. I watched that Oz movie and I remember liking it, except for the ending. I really wanted Oz to either learn a lesson, realize the magic was already there in his past life or at least say sorry to the witch. It never happened. Go watch Divergent, it’s a great movie and the 2 main characters kind of have good guy swag. Also thanks for the link to the TED talk, super interesting. Peace bro!

  3. Kris Wolfe April 10, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    We just saw Noah, but Divergent is super good? I heard that TedTalk a few years ago and just relistened to it. It’s awesome!

    • Jorge M April 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      Yeah! Well I liked it. At times it reminds me of Harry Potter’s first movie, at times it’s just a teen movie but not like a wild one and oddly enough, I found a reference to a Hitchcock movie. The message on how you build your identity and act accordingly is great.

  4. Dog. May 4, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    What the fuck??

    You’re like 12

    Met my Ex??

    Naah

  5. Dog. May 4, 2014 at 2:05 am #

    Seriously

    Once one has done ‘the OBVIOUS’

    What more advice might you have

  6. Benito May 7, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data!
    existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this site.

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