Wearing Masks

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.” Jim Morrison

We all have one or two people in our lives that we can be completely ourselves, where we take off our mask and feel the freedom of what it means to be truly who we are. But, all too often, just like our daily outfit change, we put on a mask – hoping that no one will see through to our bumps and flaws. And it is not just one mask that we wear. We may have our cool mask, our strong mask, our happy mask or our smart mask. Whatever it is, we have somehow falsely come to believe that we are not ok just as we are. Worse than the judgments of others, we have come to see that if we don’t “fit in” a certain way, that we aren’t worthy of attention, kindness or love. However, the more we wear these masks, the further away we get from our authentic self. We come to believe that the masks we wear are really who we are. Except that probably somewhere deep inside, we understand that our true self isn’t what we show the world. It comes out in disappointments, discontent and is even behind our belief that we are “stuck” – not knowing how or where to go next. Being able to be ourselves with an ever-expanding circle is important if we are to experience true happiness because the more we run from who we truly are, the less likely we can experience the freedom we so desire. And it is not about being the kind of “this-is-who-I-am-and-I-don’t-care-if-you-like-me” attitude (because that too is a mask), but rather being wholly at peace with you so that you can experience each moment without expectation and presence.

Weekly Path to Peace: Expand your circle of freedom.

  • What masks do you wear? We may not even be aware of what masks we wear so we need to first understand where and when we put on a different persona. Clues from our past include those moments when we encounter someone who sees right through us – what mask were you wearing at that moment? Who were you trying to hide? Get in touch with all the masks you wear.
  • Become comfortable with who you really are and slowly begin to take your mask down with people you trust. Be vulnerable. Share your fears, hurts or desires with people you know are ready to experience the real you. Notice how freeing it feels as you release your guard and begin to trust others who are ready to see the real you.