Halloween is one of the few holidays that I really enjoy. This year is a bit chaotic, and I find myself not being able to participate as much as I would like. While reflecting on this, I started to wonder, “why do I like this holiday so much”?
Halloween is a time where we put on costumes, masks, wigs, makeup, and essentially pretend to be something we’re not. But it’s likely that we select something that’s enjoyable, something we feel happy “being” for a time. Maybe it’s something we wanted to be when we grew up, something we find pretty or sexy or outrageous. Maybe it’s a movie character we really like. We might put a lot of time and effort into creating this look, and we might feel that Halloween is the ONLY day we could display ourselves like this to others.
But what if we looked at it the other way around? What if we could see Halloween as a time when we can be what we truly are, or want to be deep down? What if it were a time for us to take OFF the masks and costumes–the personalities we wear for the world on a daily basis because we’re afraid to show any part of ourselves that our social circles doesn’t reward or accept? What if we instead used Halloween as a springboard for expressing our authentic selves!?
Here are 13 scary ideas for you to play with this Halloween:
- Accept a compliment. No, REALLY. Actually let it inside your heart so that you can feel it, and from the heart, sincerely thank the person offering it.
- Say “no” to something you think you absolutely have no choice but to do, but that you know deep down doesn’t excite you. Once you’ve said no, let any worry or guilt go.
- Take time to do something you’ve always wanted to do, or thought about doing but didn’t because you were afraid what others would think. Notice which idea makes you most uncomfortable and afraid of being judged or criticized, and DO IT ANYWAY because YOU’D LOVE TO.
- When an emotion (fear, sadness, anger, happiness, etc.) comes up for you, notice it as an authentic expression of YOURSELF, that is OK. Focus your attention on your breath. Relax your body. Feel any physical sensations. Watch your mind. Allow all this to happen instead of immediately pushing it away.
- Consciously communicate with someone you know you’ve been biting your tongue around. Express your true feelings kindly, and listen to their response. Accept your own part in where you are in your relationship.
- Explore your spiritual side. Perhaps explore something different than what you were exposed to growing up. Maybe embrace more fully whatever you truly believe. Or, investigate a different philosophy with an open heart.
- Ask yourself whether the career, hobbies, relationships, or other activities that you put energy into on a daily basis really FEED YOUR SOUL. A real hard and close look. If you find anything lacking, brainstorm ways you might transform this area of your life so it feels more aligned to you.
- Really SEE someone when you talk with them. Listen to what they’re saying that they’re not saying. Forget about your response. Be present with them, however they’re showing up for you.
- Wear something (non-Halloween) which you like and that might draw people’s attention. Notice what comes up for you when you are SEEN. When others see you, try smiling at them!
- Do something YOUR way, especially if you think others expect you to do it some other way: a presentation, a school project, handling a challenge with your parents or children, etc.
- Listen to your body rather than your mind’s “should’s”. Does your body crave movement, or rest? A bubble bath or a run? Kickboxing or yoga? A burger and fries or a freshly squeezed orange juice?
- Notice when you want to say (or have said) something that didn’t feel quite right, because you were wanting to be liked or loved. What things do you tell people that you don’t truly believe, deep in your heart? Practice saying only things you feel are YOU.
- Notice what stories you tell yourself about what will happen when you pack your mask, costume, or personality away. Are they true? Are they all negative? Can you see any positives?
Is Halloween really every day for you? How scary can you get this Halloween by finding YOU underneath your masks and costumes?