“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time. When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy. It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”– Mark Nepo
We all wear a mask. Most of probably wear multiple. Your mask is anything that protects anyone from seeing or knowing the real you. Your mask could be pretending you want to go to college when you really want to continue working at your fun retail job. It could be pretending you’re confident when in reality you second guess every move you make and are majorly impacted by the opinions of others. Whatever your mask may be, it’s heavy and you’re probably wearing it out of fear of being judged. We get into the habit of wearing our masks for so long that we end up not realizing we have them on. The longer we take to remove the mask, the more painful it will be. Next thing you know, you’ll be more scared to be yourself than you are to lug around this false persona all day.
I challenge you to be more mindful of your actions. Notice how you feel when someone offends you and ask yourself why you’re offended. Before you react, ask yourself how you’d like to react and why. What if instead of hurting that person back, you said “I feel attacked by what you said, can we talk about it?” How would that change things? Would it make you more honest? Would it allow for a more real, human conversation?
I believe that removing our masks will lead to a revolution of others removing theirs. How much happier and more healed could our society be if we were all raw and honest? What do we have to lose when we design our lives based on who we are rather than who we are told to be? The more I’ve decided to be conscious of my mask, the more I’m noticing how many I have on. The other day a coworker texted me complaining about something I had no issue with. My first instinct was to agree with him and start complaining too even though I didn’t actually agree. I got so deep into the habit of wearing a mask that my instinct was to wear one that would perceive me as negative.
Today I choose to remove my mask by being an open book and allowing people to know me for who I am today, my emotions, my opinions, my fears. I chose to let go of the expectations that people have for more as I follow my gut. How will you remove you mask today? Comment below.