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Behind The Mask

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mardis Gras - A time to act out your fantasy-self, your wildest dream-self. A time to wear masks.

Do you find yourself putting on a mask so often you don’t even realize you do it? Have you ever put on an act then? You know, trying to appear a particular way, hoping people will believe something special about you, something that isn't real but you want it to be. Or perhaps there's something about you that you're not comfortable with and rather than be exposed you cover it over by putting on a "good face."

The answer for every one of us is yes. Whether we like to admit it or not, from time to time or even much of the time, each of us wears a mask of one kind or another. Sometimes it's a smile when we'd rather not. Sometimes we want to seem knowledgeable when we don't have a clue. Or we want to look strong when in fact we're terrified.

Masks are part of daily life. And in some instances, like playing poker and haggling over the price of something you really want, they are indispensable. But in your personal relationships there's a catch. Whenever you choose to screen the truth of who you are behind a mask, you make the judgment that who you are is inadequate, incompetent, inferior, deficient or defective in some way. You actually insist that you are unwanted.

Whenever you express yourself and are met with rejection, ridicule, or any response that devalues who you are, you stand at a crossroads and you have to make a choice. You can either decide that the response is inaccurate and meaningless. Or you can take the rejection to heart. When you choose the latter, you vote against yourself, agreeing that there is something wrong with you. In order to protect yourself you decide to change, not by developing better self-awareness or learning to consider the source of such negativity, but by creating a false front, one that you believe will be unconditionally acceptable to others.

Once you decide to relate to the world from behind a mask, you cast your vote with those who have voted against you. You vote against yourself and decide to stay in allegiance with those who do not want you. You twist and turn, making yourself into whatever you believe will gain their favor, so that who you are is thereafter determined by someone else's values, someone else's beliefs and feelings. You become what you imagine someone else thinks you should be and you end up without a self of your own. And then you wonder why you are so afraid of being found out, why, when people tell you that they like you or love you, you can never believe them.

Living authentically -- living true to yourself -- requires a serious choice to hold your value on your own terms. And it requires conscious intention and practice to move out from behind your masks. But only then will love be a believable gift. Only then can you trust that you are loved for who you really are.

The following points will help you remember the enormous value of living true to yourself as you work to cast off your masks.

Masks cover your fear of feeling unacceptable. By dropping your masks, you claim the right to a full emotional range and grow your self-respect.

Your masks block any personally meaningful connection. By dropping your masks, you reveal yourself in a manner that creates the way for genuinely intimate relationships.

With your masks in place, you remain stuck. Locked up inside. By dropping your masks, you can tap a wide array of previously prohibited imagination and creativity.

With masks on, you always feel emotionally hungry and can never be satisfied. By dropping your masks, your basic human need to be recognized, valued, and wanted can be fulfilled.

Your masks keep you dedicated to your past, to the original environment that did not welcome you as you. And your masks continually perpetuate the pain you're trying to escape. By dropping your masks, you make the courageous move to leave the past behind, open to a new future, and become your own person.

Most important, masks force you into believing the delusion that who you are lacks value. Then you live in the fantasy that others are superior to you. And the real you moves far beyond your reach. By dropping your masks, you set yourself free of self-rejection--the only real rejection there is - and make way for living a real and satisfying life.

Having just read this, take a moment and look inside. Are you willing to drop your masks, even just a little at first, and invite people to really know you? Are you willing to find out how people would actually respond to you? Will you agree that their acceptance would then be more meaningful than any so-called liking they may express for your performance? And if they don't like you for who you really are, why would you want to be with them?

Life is to be lived. And lived as fully as possible. So come out of hiding. Don’t hide behind your computer screen or a mask - come out, come out where ever you are. And don't look back!

P.S. This is a family site so bead throwing is perfectly acceptable and appreciated but please leave your shirts on!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Kal do oyu remember the Billy JOel songs? Just the way you are? HOnesty?

    "the Stranger" by Bill Joel
    Well we all have a face
    That we hide away forever
    And we take them out and
    Show ourselves
    When everyone has gone
    Some are satin some are steel
    Some are silk and some are leather
    They're the faces of the stranger
    But we love to try them on

    Well we all fall in love
    But we disregard the danger
    Though we share so many secrets
    There are some we never tell
    Why were you so surprised
    That you never saw the stranger
    Did you ever let your lover see
    The stranger in yourself?

    Don't be afraid to try again
    Everyone goes south
    Every now and then
    You've done it, why can't
    Someone else?
    You should know by now
    You've been there yourself

    Once I used to believe
    I was such a great romancer
    Then I came home to a woman
    That I could not recognize
    When I pressed her for a reason
    She refused to even answer
    It was then I felt the stranger
    Kick me right between the eyes

    Well we all fall in love
    But we disregard the danger
    Though we share so many secrets
    There are some we never tell
    Why were you so surprised
    That you never saw the stranger
    Did you ever let your lover see
    The stranger in yourself?

    Don't be afraid to try again
    Everyone goes south
    Every now and then
    You've done it why can't
    Someone else?
    You should know by now
    You've been there yourself

    You may never understand
    How the stranger is inspired
    But he isn't always evil
    And he is not always wrong
    Though you drown in good intentions
    You will never quench the fire
    You'll give in to your desire
    When the stranger comes along.
    I have always known I had masks for different persons in my life. I know I hide the stranger in me from many. Writing tends to unleash the true me but even there I cna pull back.

    Fortunate for me, perhaps unfortunate for him, my DH has allowed me to keep my real me mask on more often. Uncovering all your masks after years of layering htem on is a challenge. Just look at BL on TV and Conda this round.

    eloquent blog, thanks for the reminder and enabling me to remember some of my favorite songs!
    3300 days ago
    Thanks Kali for the Great Blog!
    You know I am a firm Mardi Gras celebrator!!
    We tried to get a bunch to go this year but we will do something local again.
    I am going to share this blog with my local Girls!
    3301 days ago
    wow fantastic blog i am going to post a link to on spark guys page.everyone should read this iit is so,so powerful and just right for this season of mardi gras.
    3301 days ago
    Still another great Must Read for everyone!

    Here's extra strands of beads,a few little trinkets mixed in and may you find the baby tucked in your piece of King Cake!

    3301 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9697485
    emoticon blog, Kal!!!
    3302 days ago
    Great blog, Kal!
    3302 days ago
    This is one of THE MOST AMAZING blogs I have ever read!!!! I am printing it out right now for further reminding!!! You rock!!!
    3302 days ago
  • PRIZM96
    Wow. Truly amazing, Kal.
    3302 days ago
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