In many situations, people put on a mask and act some way that isn’t their natural self. This mask is a cover up used by some to avoid feeling vulnerable. To avoid showing their true self in fear that it will be rejected by others. These people are worried that the world might think of them negatively when they are themselves. So, they put on a mask and pretend to be someone they are not. This can come in the form of not sticking up for what you believe in because you are afraid what others would think of you, bullying when you feel powerless, spewing random facts when you feel unintelligent, and in various other ways. When you put on the mask, things spiral out of your control. You become a bystander to wrong and a perpetrator of sin.

I have learned firsthand the cost of wearing the mask. I lost all of my best friends growing up because I tried to be some cool kid. I didn’t know how to cope with graduating 8th grade or my own personal issues at the time and I turned into a jerk while trying to be “the man.” By the time I graduated 8th grade, my friends didn’t want to honestly hang out with me. I knew deep down I was not good to them and felt guilty about trying to hang out with them. The person they called one of their best friends, grew up with, played sports with, and hung out with every weekend of grade school had disappeared. The mask I put on ruined the only friendships I had in my life at the time. The mask you put on comes at a steep price.

You can avoid this cost and reap the benefits of avoiding the mask. When the mask is gone, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders when you stop acting. There are no more webs of lies to dance around, just the peace that comes from being yourself. The mind is clearer, not filled with constant contradictions. There is not a flurry of thoughts running through your mind thinking what should I say? What should I do? You just are what you are. You say and do what comes to mind and that is that. It is a liberating feeling to act in accordance with who you are where there are no inconsistencies. Anytime you perform out of line, it feels unnatural and you act to fix it. When you are held accountable by just yourself and not multiple personas, it is easier to identify your mistrials and fix them.

I identified the tragedy of damaging my friendships when I took off my mask. All that is left behind the mask is yourself and your heart. What was left led me to reconcile my wrongs and rekindle these friendships. When the mask is uncovered, the good in your heart shines out.

“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask”

-Victor Hugo

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Take off the mask for a day and see how good you feel. You might feel freer than ever before.

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