The Mask Of Positive Emotion

Masks are things we put on to help us play out a different or expanded role.

A mask is something like the role an actor plays, and then after playing the part, grows into the best parts of that role.  The mask is a powerful symbol of “fake it, till you make it.” 

The mask of practicing new feelings, new thinking, and new behavior enables us to actually become increasingly what is the truth about us, as we add more flourish and color to the mask we are trying out.

A false mask is the one we wear to hide our real selves from the world.  Just like make-up, you can wear it to hide what you can’t accept or see that enhances what and who you are.  These are not masks to hide behind.  In the best tradition of masks, they are symbols of becoming and growth. 

A positive mask is the one we wear to practice our strengths, positive feelings, and flow.
Eventually the new mask gains color as we define desires more clearly and have the courage to “wear them” and own them.  Finally, the mask emerges with the colors of living in an UpSpiral, strengths, flow, goals, and vision, all parts of the NeuroPositive life journey.

So what about negative emotion, negative experiences? Don't we need “negative masks?”

Negative emotion seems to be just “under our skin,” no matter how positive we try to become. And that's because negative emotion is and always will be very close to us. It is our warning system. The key is learning to guide your positive emotion with greater capacity and agility, and to exercise more choice over having them.

A positive mask is the one we choose to wear in order to practice our strengths, positive emotions, and flow.

Positive thinking, as good as it can be, is no guarantee of this capacity. You can think positively all you want and not necessarily affect your negative feelings. In fact, it may be a hindrance if it is rooted in the denial of negative emotion as a warning system or even as a reflective guide.

Negative emotions win out with their immediacy. Negative emotions are “now” emotions and positive emotions are more associated with the long-term. Negative emotions are sharper in the “now” than positive ones. Positive emotions are more important and significant over the long-term. Positive emotion can remake who you are beginning at any point in your lifetime. It is just that powerful. But it is just as possible to allow negative emotions to rule your entire life.

Put on your “positive mask” to practice your strengths, positive emotions, and flow. Learn how to practice positive emotion in our Emotional Gym with immediacy, duration, and intensity.

It is likely that no one has said to us, “go out and practice feeling love, peace, joy, gratitude or hope” because we have usually always just waited for them to happen to us.

There are two things that are essential. The first is to decide that you can and want to have more positive emotion in your life–that it is absolutely essential to your health and well-being. The second is to work-out in our Emotional Gym. Make your agility and practice with positive emotion second nature.

Negative feelings are guideposts, not stop signs.  The role which is ours with our “negative mask” becomes one of action–an alert to move toward the positive.  It is not that you ignore negative feelings.  They just tell you to go in the other direction. They don’t need to be analyzed, dissected, labeled, or quantified.

They need to be left behind you as quickly as possible.

Most of the time they are telling you to move in the other direction, toward what feels good.   

Wear your “positive mask” to practice your strengths, positive emotions, and flow.

The last mask, itself always changing, becomes the mask of Vision.  And at this point it’s really no longer a mask but a reality—the reality of what you have become, full of color and flourish.

We become the mask we wear. 

Choose well!

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute