My kids love Halloween. They enjoy ringing doorbells dressed up in a way that our neighbors do not even know who they are…and of course there is the whole candy thing that they enjoy as well. I am not sure if they like the costumes or candy more. Moving through the neighborhood, wearing a costume/pretending to be someone else, and getting candy…what a night! When we get home, the costumes come off… or do they? Halloween has made me think about the masks we wear everyday.
Some are elaborate and some minor, but we all wear masks in some way during the course of our daily lives. There are times we want to be perceived in certain ways ultimately disguising who we really are. Maybe it is a half truth to make our actions seem more noble; or changing our behavior when others are watching, or even not speaking up even when we know we should. We cover up, pretend, or disguise who we are and/or what we are feeling to fit in or make people think that we are something we are not.
Why do we feel the need to disguise our true selves for others? Why do we feel who we are is not enough?
I have come to believe that we take on these personas to please others we interact with daily. These masks cause us to place our own value and self-worth in how others feel about us regardless of how we feel about ourselves. Maybe it is about winning, maybe it is about building a superficial definition of success, or perhaps it just boils down to making others think you are something you think you should be. I think there are times for all of us where we wish we could be more “ourselves” around others. The longer we wear these masks, the more we buy into the perception that “this” is who we need to be in order to gain acceptance.
If we want to take off our masks, and be the people we truly are when no one else is around; the ones that make mistakes and learn, and accept the flaws as well the unique talents that we possess, we must first treat others in a way where they can take off theirs as well. We must look for the good in others, especially when it is hard because of our notions of how they are; these ideas are typically brought on because of the masks they wear. It is easy in today’s world to believe people are getting worse and to notice the downfalls of others. In my opinion, this way of thinking is just lazy. It is the easy way out of investing in those around us. People make mistakes. We all do. It is understandable to not like an action or a decision, but it must become unacceptable to dislike the person because of a choice. We are more than our mistakes; we are more than the choices that we make, we are more than the masks we wear- and so is everyone else.
Remove your masks. Be the real you. Live in a way that encourages others to follow your lead. Save the mask wearing for Halloween…
Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!