Masks

masks

Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote, “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

We all act differently around certain people, because we want to impress them, or maybe because we simply don’t want to dissapoint them. And sometimes, indeed, we can’t figure out who we really are.

I once wrote that our freedom is limited only by what we believe to be the perception others have about us. If we’re afraid the world won’t like us for who we really are, then we try our best to “behave.”

It’s incredibly difficult to do this, day in and day out. In the end, you won’t have a moment of peace, as long as you’re afraid the mask will fall off and people we’ll see you for who you really are.

I frankly don’t know why people do this, I just know why I did it. Because I wanted to belong, to find my place. I wanted to be accepted by the vast majority of people I met, so I did my best to act as shallow as possible. I’m somewhat funny, possibly even charismatic, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to act as if I didn’t care.

But you know what they say about funny people actually being the saddest of all creatures, right? But that doesn’t matter, as long as on the outside everything seems to be all right.

Back in high school few people knew I wrote. Now, that’s what really defines me, it’s the most important thing about me. Maybe it’s the only thing that really defines who I am.

Andre Gide once wrote, “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.”

Isn’t it true that we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s our purpose on this planet? What is it that we love doing? What is it that we want most? What is it that we’re truly great at? And what do we want after that? I’d say we spend the rest of our time on this Earth trying to find someone willing (or is it capable?) of loving us for who we really are.

We hope there’s one person, just one of out 7 or so billion, who’s capable of seeing us for who we are and decides to love that person, no matter what.

But isn’t it true that sometimes it feels as if we’re never who we think we are? That, somehow, something always gets lost in the “translation?”

14 thoughts on “Masks

  1. I can relate. It seems that we are constantly thinking about what people will think of us. I am constantly thinking of how people see me. But more importunately is how God sees me. I should think that way and have no worries, because He loves me and always thinks well of me.
    Thanks for your very good, thoughtful writing. Gods blessing to you.

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  2. I call the ‘netdonyms’, those caricatures we create to present versions of ourselves to different groups. It’s human nature. You to your mother and father; you to your bro’s; you to your internet buddies, your workmates, your sports friends, your carpool peeps. We’re fabrications of who we need to be — yes — but only because society has evolved into dozens of clans in which we must interact. It’s not good or bad. It just is.
    Many of us take this meme with us onto the internet. Me, as Anonymole, is someone entirely different than me at home, or at work, or with my childhood friends or… It just is.

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  3. Wonderful post!
    When I was young, I always marched to my own drummer. I didn’t care if I had few friends or if no one accepted me. I never cared. But, over the years, especially after I was diagnosed as bipolar, I had to learn to wear a mask when I was interacting socially or at work. It wasn’t so much so people would accept me (though I did do it for that reason for a few people), it was mostly to make my interactions with other people easier and hide what was wrong with me. It was literally exhausting to do this every day.
    Actually, one of my jobs kind of forced me to do this… I was working at an adult day care and we were literally told that if we didn’t put on a happy face for all the seniors, we would be fired. I was miserable putting on that mask before I walked through the door every day. Thankfully, we had a “life coach” or something like that come in one day. She told us it was okay to let the seniors know when we were having a bad day because they’d know we weren’t happy all the time. After that, the whole you’ll be fired if you’re not happy all the time rule was tossed out the window.
    Personally, I’ve reached the age and the mindset at this point that I could care less. If you can’t accept me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best. If you can’t accept me for who I am, it’s your loss, not mine. No more wearing masks for me.

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  4. This is such a great post! I could definitely relate with this. I believe its called an approval addiction. But yes, this post definitely took on a romantic turn, its our collective hope to find one person that at least loves us for who we really, truly are. That acceptance is often enough and makes up for the rest…

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  5. It actually took getting with my husband to help me show the world the true me. He’s one of those people that doesn’t care if people like him or not. It helped me be that way too. I will do my best to be a likeable person, but if you don’t like that person, it’s on you. Not me. Wonderful post!

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  6. Enjoyed reading the post. There is our perception of what we think others think of us and the perception that others truly have of us. The two may be very different and we may be acting or judging issues without being aware of it.
    A better option would be to try to close the gap between the self-image we have and the self-image we wish to have.
    Very few can develop one image for private as well as public view
    K C R Raja

    Liked by 1 person

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