by Shane Fookes, MA LPC Intern
“You’re a hypocrite.”
That accusation feels like a slap in the face, doesn’t it? As soon as you read it, you may have felt the urge to click off this page! If you’re like most people, you’ve probably only heard the word hypocrite used to describe judgmental church people, or maybe politicians who say one thing to get elected but act the very opposite after election day. But in reality, hypocrisy casts a much wider net.
The word hypocrite comes from the ancient Greek word hypokrites which referred to a stage actor. It was actually a compound noun made up of two Greek words that together can be translated “an interpreter from behind.” This translation makes sense when you understand that ancient Greek theater actors wore large masks to present the character they played. In other words, they participated in the story from behind a mask. Eventually, the Greek word took on extended meaning by referring to any person pretending to be someone or something they are not.
Let that sink in: a hypocrite is someone who wears a mask and pretends to be someone else.
Your “mask” is built over time
Think about what you do when you feel relationally and/or emotionally hurt by someone. Or think about what happens when you feel ashamed because you’ve hurt someone important to you. It’s easy to put on a mask to protect yourself, right? You pretend what your spouse said didn’t hurt even though it hurt a lot. You defend yourself and deny doing anything wrong when confronted by a coworker even though, deep down, you know you screwed up. You put on a happy face when hanging out with your friends when inside all you really want to do is cry.
Over time, as hurt piles on hurt, you may even begin to believe the mask you wear is the real you. The mask feels good because it seemingly protects you from additional hurt. The mask can even become so effective it brings you success and accolades. You receive praise for being strong, unconquerable, and impervious to pain.
In other words, masks work great! At least for a while. Then, at some point along the way you realize you’re all alone behind that mask. No one knows the real you. You may even get to the point where you don’t know the real you! Maybe you have a lot of friends but feel lost and alone. Or perhaps you’re a high-performing employee or business owner yet you feel unfulfilled and restless. Maybe your life is the envy of all you know but deep down you’re ready to cash it all in. Maybe you’ve already sabotaged it all and now you’re wondering what to do with the wreck you’ve made of your life.
Remove your “mask” with a trusted Christian counselor
If that’s you, let me invite you into the healing power of confession.
For some people, confession conjures images of a dark booth in a cathedral with a priest on the other side of a screen. Confession is much more than that. Confession involves a commitment to speak what is true about yourself to another human being. Confession involves taking off the mask and sharing the real you – your unfiltered thoughts, feelings, experiences, hurts, and hopes. The Bible affirms the healing power of practicing confession: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16a (NLT)
But, confession seems risky, doesn’t it? Confession opens you up to potential rejection and condemnation. You don’t know what the other person will do with what you share. This is a very real concern. And it’s where a counselor can help.
Confession, Confidentiality, and Counseling
I’m sharing this post about confession on our counseling blog because confidentiality is the most powerful, healing element of counseling. As counselors, we are ethically bound to keep whatever is shared confidential (with a few exceptions to protect children and vulnerable adults and to save a life). In many ways, the counseling office is the new confessional. Social science research has confirmed the healing power of the “therapeutic alliance” between a counselor and a client. Simply put: having a safe space to share your true self is the first, and most important, step you can take toward healing.
Are you ready to drop your mask?
CONSIDER ONLINE THERAPY IN OREGON FOR CHRISTIAN COUNSELING
Our Clackamas and Hillsboro-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. Your relationships can thrive again. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:
- Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
- Feel more connected to the important people in your life
OTHER MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AT LIFE DISCOVERY COUNSELING IN OREGON
If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!