Take Off That Mask!


imagesI have often mused that underneath our fixed exteriors we are all very similar. We all have insecurities and doubts, with those proclaiming most loudly to the contrary, even more. We all feel embarrassed at times. We’ve all been the brunt of the joke. We’ve all done things we regret. We have hopes and dreams and ideals and visions of ourselves that we have a hard time living up to. We get mad and say things we don’t mean. We zig when we should have zagged! We get anxious; we fear the future; the past; rejection; death and disease; failure; other people’s judgment; God, the devil, life etc. All of those things we work so hard to keep secret; to hide from the world, are what makes us human beings. So, why oh why, do we toil so ardently to present an image of ourselves that isn’t real? How exhausting it is to put on that costume day after day. How maddening is it to laugh at what isn’t funny; to feign a preference for those things we abhor; to keep up appearances…

I know the types of things I say to myself at times and can imagine what you say about yourself! Many things we hurl at ourselves in the quiet chambers of our minds would provoke a fight if you said them to someone else. Yet there we are castigating ourselves for this and berating ourselves for that. Who convinced us that we are all so bad that we needed to pretend we are someone else? What got to us so deeply that we are no longer comfortable in our own skin? What? Who decided that all human beings should behave the same; have the same preferences; say the same thing; look a certain way? Who? I think if you would dare to look  at yourself honestly you would see that something tripped you up; got to you; is messing with your psyche! Something is after you man. Something doesn’t have your best interests at heart!

You can’t blame God for what’s happening, though that seems popular today when we face difficulty or distress. Yeah, some guy at church told you God was angry with you and to escape from God you had to pretend to be something else. Imagine you made a human being; gave it free-will; allowed it to make choices; layered it from head to toe with feelings and sensations; devised a mind to run it all, complete with a million variations of emotion, then incredulously found yourself shocked when it didn’t do everything you designed it to do.  Add to that having foreknowledge or the ability to know what was going to happen before it happened and then still finding yourself reeling with disgust because it made mistakes. Unbelievable, wouldn’t you say? It seems more reasonable that if you had the superior intelligence smart enough to build it, you would also have at least enough common sense to understand it and maybe have compassion towards it given it’s freedom of will to choose and often choose poorly! Ya think?

The reason we’re all making such pains to present that unrealistic , perfect image is because something or someone talked us into believing that the real ‘me’ isn’t good enough; what I really think is of no value; and that my true feelings and thoughts cannot be trusted! That something is your enemy and mine; the one that steals everything that you value; kills everything that you love and destroys that which is most precious to you. And along the way, he’s got you and me walking around pretending to be something we are not. Crazy, I know. Unfair, for sure. Unable to be changed? Definitely not!

So how can we change things around?  How can we get out from behind that silly costume and start living? The simple answer is to take off your mask! Decide to stop agreeing with things you don’t agree with! Take a stand for yourself. Be on your own side even if the whole world is on the other side. Express yourself exactly how you want to express yourself. Don’t you admire people who act without pretense? Doesn’t your heart thrill privately when someone says what they really think, be it unfashionable, politically incorrect or otherwise? That’s honest folks; being honest with yourself. Don’t be scared to show your vulnerability. If someone asks how you are doing, don’t say fine if you’re not fine! If you are afraid say so. Have you ever heard someone say repeatedly that they aren’t afraid of something? If you are a betting man, you can bet they are afraid. People who aren’t afraid have no reason to say it (smile)! So, get off your own back. I mean what chance do you have in life if you’re not even on your own side? When there is a question concerning your goodness, choose you…

The injustices; the pain and suffering in life; the things you fear are what convinced you to put on your mask and be someone else. But you don’t need to comply. You are the wonderful person God made you to be whether you ever see that for yourself or not. Your thoughts and feelings do count. They count for one just like everyone else’s thoughts and feelings count for one. You matter no less than any other person regardless of their lofty titles or accolades.

Let the world see the real you with all of your frailty, insecurity and everything else. Let the genuine you shine forth. Hey, you might be surprised to find out that people like you for who you really are!

Mr. or Ms. Human, take off that mask!

Just some good thoughts…

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