Take Off The Mask!

You are reading this article either because you are curious at heart and loves learning or because you are the recipient of I love you, but only if you conform, change and do as you are told.

Sounds familiar?

No matter who you are, I trust what you are about to read will provide you with valuable lessons that can transform your life. I intend to stimulate your mind with my professional expertise take on Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview on Oprah and leave you with five principles that can help you live, lead and love authentically and freely on your terms.  

As someone who has helped thousands of individuals with a range of personal, professional and business issues, I believe being open and revealing yourself without fear of rejection and judgments is a gigantic act of courage, love, and faith.

While exposing your vulnerability can enhance your life, it’s important not to get caught by your self-deceptive nature that loves to play the blame game. The one that is masterminded by years of disowning the traits that you judge in others.

It is undeniable that Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview on Oprah sparked long-needed debates on issues that affect not just the royals but also all of us. As someone who, for most of my life, I felt different from the culture, family and environment I was born into; I have massive respect for anyone out there who has felt the pain of not fitting in, of having to conform and change themselves, so they become likeable and loved. All discussed in this revealing, and personal interview is heartwrenching, but it is also incredibly refreshing, inspiring and educational.

I don’t think this is the case because I like or dislike royals. It is because, in my heart, I know of the courage it takes to stand up for what you believe, something we all know how much their late mother, Princess Diana, fought for. More importantly, it is also something we all fight for in our ways. Something all of you reading this article deep down know it too, but unfortunately, very few of you dare to open up and say ‘enough is enough’ and let your truth out.  

Millions of people who watched the interview relate with many of the issues raised throughout the consultation by Prince Harry and Meghan, especially the impact everything they have been through together had on their mental and emotional health – suicidal thoughts being the most decapitating experience Megan had to face alone with Harry.

Looking back in my life, negative self-talk and suicidal thinking almost destroyed everything I had worked very hard to achieve. The truth is, having coached individuals, business leaders, teams, families, and some influential people, I realised the same issue my clients also faced affect royals, family members, clients, friends and millions, if not billions of people around the world.

Often, as I coach clients, they start to accept that it is wise to shift away from how to “fix” the other person and toward a broader view of how to be authentic with each other when our values are challenged—to create a co-loving relationship without injecting each other’s values. This realisation changed my life, and ever since, I have helped others do exactly that.

When I attended Princess Diana’s funeral, I just graduated from University. I knew then, as I know now, that all of the issues and feelings Prince Harry and William had back then, if not addressed lovingly, will eventually become one gigantic problem tree that will need to be uprooted. For anyone watching them walking behind their mother’s casket was a heart-breaking experience. London parks were packed with flower, cards, photos, personal messages and candles. The world was grieving with them. Few years before this event, I lost many people I loved and cared for in the former Yugoslav civil war. Watching them say goodby to their mother, I knew they did not grieve a royal family member’s loss. They mourned the loss of their equally troubled and very dear, bold and kind mother that dared to open up and speak of her pain.

Before you quick to judge, give an opinion, I would love you to remind yourself how every issue raised in this interview and every question being publicly debated on various news channels is not just a royal issue. These are issues every human being will face at some point in their lives. This is what’s Diana knew back then, but unfortunately, many were not prepared to discuss them from the fear of repercussion in those days. It is beautiful and powerful to watch their love for each other, and in the name of that love, come forward, open up and share their pain and vulnerability stories authentically—something their late mother did and captured the hearts of millions of people around the world.

Of course, there are always two or more sides to every story. Of course, it must hurt the royal family too. Hence it is wise to breathe before you comment and make your judgment. Life has taught me continually to take the time to listen to as many sides of the arguments as possible. It is only then that you can objectively draw any lessons that can truly change your life. The truth of the matter is, none of us truly know all that needs to be known to create an informed view.

Many of you grew up being told ‘I love you’, but little did you know the impact the conditions put after this three-letter word would have on your mental, physical and emotional health adult life. From an early age, you are taught to conform to other people’s values and expectations. You become people-pleasers. You learn to give in to different disempowered personas that you show to the world from the fear of being judged and rejected. The choices that your genuine and authentic self-guides you to make become influenced by skewed perceptions. You learn to change how you act, how you behave, who you date, how you eat, what you feel, how you speak, think, etc. At some point in your life, you realise that conditional loving is toxic and unsustainable.

With increased self-awareness, self-worthiness, and self-appreciation also comes the gift of letting your authentic self open up and be vulnerable. It is what Prince Harry and Meghan did. Does it come at a price? Yes, it does. Is it worth it? Absolutely yes. There is no better feeling that to honour the voice of your unfakeable being- to make choices and decision based on your priority of hierarchy of values guided by your intuition.

Through years of learning, attending personal and spiritual development seminars, coaching and teaching others, I build the courage to face some of my worst fears, threats and come out to my family. What Harry and Meghan shared awoke those memories and aroused an enthusiasm in me to write this article to inspire as many of you not to be afraid of sharing your struggle or asking for help.

Many of the clients who seek my help do so because they intuitively know that the psychology, the behaviours, the people, and the environment that may have contributed to creating the problems they experience is not necessarily the one to solve them. They genuinely seek my help because they want to feel in control of their choices, decisions, and responses to external stimuli.

Remember, if not careful, your irrational behaviours can cause significant damage to you and other people’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as your relationship with others.

The longer you suppress these lopsided emotions, the more you will foster feelings of isolation, frustration and resentments with yourself, your loved ones, and everybody else, for that matter.

Let me leave you with five transformative principles that can help you open up, make better choices and decisions and change your life forever and for the better:

  1. It’s crucial to examine your actions and adopt realistic expectations about other people’s willingness to change.
  2. To be loved for who you are, it is wise to love others for who they are.
  3. To stand for what you believe in, it takes determination, courage, and strength.
  4. To strengthen your connection with people who matter to you, learn to listen and communicate in terms of other people’s hierarchy of values.
  5. Use what pains you to create possibilities for a more meaningful and more purposeful life.

Let the above five principles be part of your opening journey and the change you want to create in your life. While the issues Prince Harry and Meghan discussed with Oprah raise complex questions that don’t lend themselves to quick answers.

Remember, it is no use to spend time second-guessing your family’s, partner’s, friend’s and other people’s comments or reactions instead of re-examining your actions, behaviours, choices and responses. This way, you not saying no to others, but to all the ready to act countless transient personas build from lifelong disappointments and pain. Let whatever lives behind those masks you show to the world every time you are being asked to conform or change be what illuminates your mind and creates the breakthroughs needed to be appreciated, loved and accepted as you are and for all that you are.

Tony J. Selimi

Award-Winning Author of The Unfakeable Code®, Business Consultant and Millionaire’s Life Strategist Specialising in Human Behaviour and Self-Mastery.