You Are Not Your Mask

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The truth is, it is hard to be honest, it is hard to trust in who you are, it is hard to guess how others will feel about you and it is hard to overcome the fear that the truth will not be enough.

You are having a conversation with a friend, a stranger, a girl you like, and they ask you a question, your opinion on something. Suddenly you freeze. What should I say? What if they think I am weird? How could they understand what I actually feel?

So you retreat inside yourself, you create barriers to protect yourself and you agree with them, you say “yes that is the way I feel as well,” you lie or you keep your thoughts to yourself and quietly nod. Then life goes on, you haven’t offended anyone, you haven’t changed their opinion of you or made them think less of you, everything is the same as it was before, you take a breath of relief as the fear subsides.

A mask forms, it encases who you are and protects your fragility. Someone close to you may succeed in cracking it from time to time for a brief and limited view of who you are, but you are always quick to repair, content behind the calcification of your true self.

So those that know you, those that love you even, they only ever really know the mask, the almost impenetrable shield that protects you from them. Even if you change and grow and move, the mask on the outside remains the same and so the people in your life are blinded to who you are and what you become.

You end up dissatisfied, desperately trying to escape your personal prison but terrified of being vulnerable, of standing naked your soul exposed, your hopes, dreams beliefs for all to see and judge. You go places you don’t want to go, talk to people you don’t want to talk to and under your mask you fantasise about what you want to say and do, as the grinning mask protects your true feelings.

But what happens if you take off the mask, tear it from your face and expose yourself once again to the world. What happens is something incredible. You stand there trembling, cowering with eyes closed and hands raised in a final attempt to hide who you really are from the world. All of a sudden the trembling stops. One eye suddenly opens and then the other as you squint out and see the world for what it really is, without a filter. You stand up unexpectedly confident as you embrace your vulnerability. You breathe in….your first unhindered, authentic breath. 

You are liberated from the disconnect and you are you. There is clarity that comes with truth and as you share the truth about yourself, you give others the courage to do the same so that only what is real rises to the surface. The relationships attached to the mask are illuminated and you understand which are important and which are not.

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You realise who you really have a connection with and who is toxic to you or simply on a separate journey to yourself.

You are finally free of the mask. You are your authentic self and so anything that happens to you is authentic. The ones that fall for you, the ones that like you, the ones that are interested in you, even the ones that can’t stand you, it is all real. Everyone who interacts with you, or doesn’t, are doing so because they know who you really are.

We cannot expect to be free if we imprison parts of ourselves behind a mask with mental chains that restrict what we do in life and barriers that restrict life experience. If you discard the mask you are completely vulnerable you are finally susceptible to the fullness of experience, susceptible to pain and sadness. But in doing so you are also susceptible to pure happiness and the world is finally able to see you smile.

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 “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” – Henry David Thoreau

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5 thoughts on “You Are Not Your Mask

  1. Pingback: The Problem With Our Masks | debooWORKS

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