Taking off our masks: have you outgrown pickup?

On Tuesday night, I had a really powerful Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) session with my friend Kate Winch. I left her apartment feeling so much lighter. The last of any residual hurt or anger melted away as if it had never existed, and all the thoughts that went with those emotions disappeared, too. And since then it feels like the doors of my heart have been flung wide open. Like I’ve surrendered into love without knowing what direction it is going in, without knowing anything really. I can feel it so intensely though. Loving and being loved.

Right now I’m enjoying my favorite time of day, as the evening light softens in the pine trees outside this window, with the blue mountains in the background. It was raining, and there are still droplets on the pine needles. Last night, I saw the most unimaginably beautiful thunderstorm ever. Better than any Fourth of July. Mostly, I feel my heart wide open, with love radiating in and out, so intense, so wonderful.

Now, back to Hristiyan’s workshop, and the third theme I wanted to discuss: taking off our masks.

Cameron Teone has talked a lot about what he doesn’t like about the seduction community and pickup artists (PUAs). A lot of times I resist his perspective because it feels too negative to me, and I like to focus my attention on the positive aspects of what people are offering. But one thing at Hristiyan’s workshop really did resonate with what Cameron has said: the three students in the workshop who had spent a lot of time with community teachings had adopted various “personas” (a swagger here, a pickup line there, a crazy hairstyle), and these masks were interfering with their ability to connect with women.

We all have our masks. Smiling and telling someone to have a good day when we are actually seething with anger is one of the most common. Why don’t we say, “I’m really fucking pissed off right now and don’t even want to talk to you”? Because we’ve been taught that it’s not “nice.” It’s not “polite.” It’s not “acceptable” or “appropriate.”

And guess what? That anger doesn’t go away. It goes underground, where it brews and festers and feeds the shadow self.

I’d much rather someone say, “You know I’m not going to do this because I don’t believe in violence, but honestly I am so angry that I feel like beating the crap out of you.”

Why? Because the very second they acknowledge their own feelings, they feel less angry. They may even start laughing, realizing how ridiculous it sounds.

Whereas if they don’t acknowledge their anger, they will resort to a bunch of “in the head” stuff — like long strings of judgments, diagnoses, analysis, etc. Have you ever noticed that angry people use lots of words and don’t really say anything worth hearing? They are really venting energy …

Today a guy told me that he had “tempered” his anger by offering guidance and love to other people. I said: “You haven’t tempered your anger. You have covered it up with bullshit.”

Anger can’t be covered up with a mask of “love” and “good will.” It must be expressed and released, or it will never be gone.

Or how about pretending to pay attention to what someone else is saying when actually we are lost in our own thoughts? Another mask. I try to stop myself from doing this by saying, “you know I’m really preoccupied right now. If you give me five minutes to clear this energy from my system, I’ll be more focused on what you are saying.”

During the workshop, we went out one night to a bar. One man from the workshop showed up with spiky hair, dressed to impress, and we didn’t even recognize him. We were shocked when he reached out to say hello. We thought he was a stranger. He had changed his look so radically, and he seemed to have adopted a “pickup” persona.

The next morning, Hristiyan (how I admire his ability to be blunt) said to him: “Who was that who showed up last night? I didn’t recognize him. It was like some teenager. It wasn’t you. Who was that?”

Meanwhile, the women that the guy had talked to at the bar didn’t feel connected to him either. It seemed like he was hiding something. We couldn’t “feel” him. It was as if he had taken the night off and sent someone else in his place.

So many of us are walking around wearing masks. We identify ourselves by our jobs or by our heritage or by the schools we attended. We think we need a fancy pickup line or sexy clothes or lots of money or a flashy car to impress people. But no one is actually impressed. Sure, they might make a big deal out of the car or the clothes or the money. But inside they are usually feeling uncomfortable, and asking themselves, what is this person compensating for that they need to show off in this way?

There is so much power in being simple. Stripping off all the layers of bullshit, wearing clothes that are comfortable, being present, and connecting. And forget about “high value” and “low value.” Forget about rating girls. It’s all bullshit. Everyone is equal. Everyone has something to offer us, and it’s our job to find out what that is. It sounds so simple, and yet almost no one is doing it.

Hristiyan is putting together another workshop. It may be July 10-12 in Los Angeles. If anyone is interested, please email me at erika.awakening@gmail.com, and I’ll put you in touch with him. If you have outgrown pickup and would like to have real, beautiful, deep connections with women, this is the workshop for you.

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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  1. "I'd much rather someone say, "You know I'm not going to do this because I don't believe in violence, but honestly I am so angry that I feel like beating the crap out of you."

    Why? Because the very second they acknowledge their own feelings, they feel less angry. They may even start laughing, realizing how ridiculous it sounds. "

    I think its

  2. lilreddgirlie says:

    Hi Hrystiyan…

    that e-mail didn't work! (it bounced back)


  3. Hristiyan Atanasov says:

    Wow Daria so I was totally off ah?

    email me at hristiyan@loveofbalance.com and we can talk

    more if you want

  4. Lilreddgirlie says:

    Hi Hrystian and Erika…

    Thanks. Btw Lilreddgirlie is me Daria… hehe…

    Thanks Hrystian. Turns out he Did call me, just had the wrong number. And I DID sleep with him on the last nite because I felt turned on.

    I think part of why I didn't feel turned on the first time was hormonal… last part of the month for me and

  5. GS,
    It makes me so happy that you decided to take a NVC class. NVC is so life enriching!

    I'm with Hristiyan. Trust what your body says way before anyone else's logic. Test men and test men and test them again. BEFORE having sex. If they are for real, they will stick around.

  6. Hristiyan Atanasov says:

    Oh simply trust yourself.

    I think that you totally did the right thing by not going to bed with him if your body was not feeling turn on. And the fact that he is not calling you right now only shows that your body was right.

    Your mind is telling you this is the perfect guy but your body is not buying it. I would trust your body way before your head especially when it comes

  7. lilreddgirlie says:

    Hrystian thank you for addressing my situation!

    I feel SUPER SHOCKED and interested in your description of the guy being "way to smooth." He was SO Smooth…

    And now as I'm sitting here in my hotel room feeling moved and thinking about him (he hasn't messaged me) I feel all tight in my chest and SO MUCH attraction for him. I feel that yes maybe a part of

  8. Anonymous says:

    Erika your a superstar….at the gay bar gay bar gay bar!!!Erika I wanna take all ya money…and take you to a gay bar gay bar gay bar…xoxoxo

  9. hi Matt,

    Well thank you for that, especially for encouraging my Shakti energy, which is indeed looking for an outlet for expression :-)


    Thanks for being so honest. I'm so intrigued that you are having a bit of a hard time letting in the appreciation … could be something for EFT …

  10. I loved this post, Erika.

    Masks always hide, as that is their purpose. It takes a lot of courage to dig out the "bullshit," confront it, and go into why one would need a mask in the first place. It is all about fear of being real with others, which stems from the fear of having someone find out who you really are. What if we are nothing is the fear that underlies it all.

  11. Hristiyan Atanasov says:

    Poetry of Flesh are you in the Bay Area

    If you are I know a woman that holds amazing women circles and a big part of them is exploring different masks women put on

    I can put you in touch with her.

  12. Hristiyan Atanasov says:

    Daria it sounds to me the man you were with was way too smooth so as fucked up as that sounds that creates miss trust. It does not allow you to see his vulnerable site and as a result of not seeing this you do not believe that he can actually be vulnerable with you are that he can hold space for your vulnerability.

    Or may be you do not believe that you do deserve such a great guy.

  13. POF- I can assure you the the workshop is not just for men. I might being going out on a linb here but I am pretty sure that Erica and all of the other wimen that have been there in the past got just as much out of it as the guys did. As a women you are reminded of what it feels like to be deeply connected to a man on a rare level. At times can be frightening but beautiful at the same time. I

  14. Poetry of Flesh says:

    I'm constantly tossing back and forth between the need for masks and the tossing of masks. And then I start to believe my own.

    Not really sure what is me anymore. Haven't been for awhile.

    Disappointed that his workshop is for men (especially since I'm here in Los Angeles already), but this community focuses on improving men, so it's not too surprising.

  15. About the "fearlessly fucking" thing.

    Last nite I was with a guy I really liked. He was super masculine, took care of me yet made sure to take care of himself, even complained about some of my more difficult requests. I really like this guy yet I am out of town here where I met him.

    So when we were back at my hotel room, even though I like him, even tho he was a

  16. PeruPua says:

    I wonder how much of this is honest and how much is "And that's why you should buy our products instead of theirs!"

  17. You will like this poem, Erika, by Paul Lawrence Dunbar (appears in many of his collections). It's called "We Wear the Mask."

    WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be

  18. Prasanna says:


    Reading your blog ever since I stumbled upon it! :-)

    the following is not related to this post…

    I was reading your previous posts and came to know that you were practising energy healing.
    I do not know much about energy healing like reiki, however I came across this(given below) talk by a person named Jaggi Vasudev (more info: http://www.ishayoga.com).

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nice post, well done!

    To me it sort of comes down on how to combine Eckhart Tolle's inner awareness and non-egoism with pickup's core masculinity and positivity…

  20. Of course you shouldn't have to wear a mask in order to consider yourself attractive.

    But at the same time, "that's not me" is a common excuse not to venture outside the comfort zone.

  21. Anonymous 11:16 pm,

    Cameron's a really good guy. I would guess that his comments stem from his having a lot of concern for guys' well-being and he doesn't want to see them adopting fake personas and doing other silly things that are counterproductive. This workshop may have given me a better appreciation for his concerns.

  22. Doug Lance says:

    ooohhhh Erikaa, not all men are the same. Not all men will hurt you. sex is FUN. without fun a spirit withers and dies. You help so many women with their sex lives, it's time to help yourself.

    loved the post. Expression is vital for a crystal clear mind.

  23. Pretending you're not angry is like what Abraham-Hicks would call 'putting a happy face sticker' over the problem.

    If you are in your car, and your fuel tank is almost empty, you can pretend it's fine by putting a sticker over it, but the problem is still there.

    With anger (or other emotion we could deem negative) I agree, it's best to acknowledge it,

  24. SMoKeLioN says:

    This whole thing is reminiscent of a halloween themed routine I wrote and tried out around a year ago.

    It was okay, but in practice it was too long and its main points could be accomplished in a more succinct way. Which, in turn helped me realize that you only need the bare minimum to set up frames and ideas.

    Overall its very very batman.

    I like batman.

  25. Urban Underground says:

    Actually, I ended up agreeing with some points on your post. Picking up can create a persona to mask your insecurities.

    But about this:

    "Why don't we say, "I'm really fucking pissed off right now and don't even want to talk to you"? Because we've been taught that it's not "nice." It's not "polite.""

  26. Urban Underground says:

    Actually, I ended up agreeing with some points on your post. Picking up can create a persona to mask your insecurities.

    But about this:

    "Why don't we say, "I'm really fucking pissed off right now and don't even want to talk to you"? Because we've been taught that it's not "nice." It's not "polite.""

  27. Anonymous says:

    I agree Cameron seems to be a very negative person in the community. A lot of the gurus are trying to help these guys have a woman or women in their life and all Cameron does is ridicule them for helping the "weird" community guys.

  28. Lol :-) I am SO LMAO about the reference to fearlessly fucking.

    If only I could fearlessly fuck.




    Laugh :-)

  29. GoneSavage says:

    "That anger doesn't go away. It goes underground, where it brews and festers and feeds the shadow self."

    In the NVC class that I take, we use an analogy of a volcano. The anger, violence, hostility, or passive-aggressive behavior that spews from the volcano always comes from hurt feelings — the fear — that is the magma flowing underground. This pressure has to be

  30. Mmmm… and I just had a really erotic moment in the hot tub. Feeling my body in the steamy water and the cool air and the scent of pine trees, and then the cold wood and concrete under my feet and the towel snug against my naked breasts.

    And I wondered if … perhaps abstinence is one of my masks …

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