The Harvard Mask

“Everyone studies here 24/7. Like in the library…” I lamented to my therapist. “Kyla, do you want to study at the library 24/7?” she asked neutrally.

“No…well, it’s too quiet in there. I prefer studying on my bed…” Something I began doing at a young age and still do to this day.

“Ok, so if you don’t want to study like them, why do you think you keep comparing yourself WITH them?”

The Bully Mask

From the Trumps and the Kavanaughs to the workplace bullies, adult bullying is rampant and invisible-ized/normalized globally. As someone who has overcome workplace bullying, I can deeply empathize WITH those who have not been able to speak out about it.

When I did actually confront one of my work bullies who happened to also be a father of two daughters, he had no idea he was making me feel bad. I thought to myself not just about him but about other bullies, what if they just take their masks off, would they still be bullies?

The Actor’s/Actress’ Mask

When I initially found out just how much certain Hollywood actors and actresses make, I was shocked. It’s not to say that hard work should go unrewarded, but that we as a society, value and reward those who master the art of being someone else other than themselves. There are even prestigious award ceremonies like the Golden Globes to recognize such feats.

Society’s Mask

I think we all walk around with masks on. It could be the “I’m ok” mask, or the “Make up” mask, or the “Perfectionist” mask. Nobody really leaves the house without some kind of mask on which might actually reveal what’s going on inside.

After one of my Happiness Workshops in Seoul during the summer, there was a line of people who wanted to speak WITH me WITHout their masks on:

“I am a rape survivor.”

“I have PTSD from surviving a car accident.”

“My father passed away recently.”

What we know from sharing something is that it creates not just an emotional unburdening but a physical one as well. In that brief moment, when they took off their masks, I could see how truly relieved those participants really were.

The Social Media Mask

In a recent conversation WITH my bootcamp instructor, when discussing what to post on Facebook, she asked herself almost out loud this question that has stuck WITH me, “Sometimes I have to ask myself: WHY am I posting on Facebook? Is it for my own glory? To talk myself up? Or is it really because I want to share stuff WITH friends and family back home?”

Trick or Treat?

On a Halloween Party Evite, it read “Prizes for best costumes.” It got me thinking:

Is Halloween that different from everyday life? We reward people for the best costumes and MASKS with candy and other prizes.

What if we took the time to work on ourselves WITH ourselves? Halloween could then be the only time of year when we actually wore a mask.


  • Kyla Mitsunaga

    Global Happiness Coach | ThetaHealing® Coach | Author of WITH vs AT: Two Prepositions That Changed My Life

    KYLA MITSUNAGA is a Global Happiness Coach/ThetaHealing® Coach/Speaker/Award-Winning Professor/Founder of WITH Warriors LLC. She realized her true calling and passion for helping others when she won her first teaching award at Harvard. She went on to teach at Yonsei University in Seoul for 7 years creating unique and innovative content for classes such as Career Development, Global Issues, Cross-Cultural Communication. She even created a course on Happiness for Freshman and won multiple teaching awards. In 2012, she was invited to be a TED@Seoul speaker. She recently trademarked her TED Talk title WITH vs AT and turned it into a book as well as a retreat. In 2017, she embarked on a healing journey working WITH her depression. She decided to take the year out to finish her book, start a pop-up cafe in her apartment (serving no-salt dishes and no-sugar desserts), become a certified life coach, become a certified happiness coach, and most recently a certified ThetaHealing® practitioner. She has now realized that in order to become happy, we must first heal from WITHin. She has delivered innovative and dynamic corporate workshops as well as practiced one-on-one coaching all over the globe. When not speaking or workshopping globally, you can find Kyla swimming, baking (without processed sugar), writing, finding the best eats in Korea, and mulling over women’s rights. Kyla has traveled to 49 countries, delivered workshops in 16, and calls 5 countries “home.”