by Jon Hilton
Masks of Life
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live or how much you have, you have spent a significant part of your life creating and wearing masks in your life. These are masks that are as real as you would see each Halloween, but they are often quite permanent.
These masks come in all varieties, shapes and sizes and in many cases serve you quite well. They help to project the image that you want. But still inside of us there is a real person who is being suffocated by the masks we choose to wear.
Why I Built Masks
As early on as I can remember, there are many memories of support, recognition of who I was and an appreciation for what I brought to the world. Then it started to change, other people did not seem to accept me as my loved ones did.
It is one of nature’s oldest forms of protection, camouflage. By disguising the attributes that we take criticism and thus experience pain for, we feel safe. I think we feel protected, but it is a false protection with a huge price.
Although I was still the friendly, caring kid I was, I started to put on a mask that would help me get through the rough seas of acceptance that childhood makes you travel. It worked! I was able to hide myself and be what ever was more acceptable, more funny, meaner, less accepting of others. Even narrow-minded and worse unkind, insensitive and cruel.
Careful It May Get Stuck
The masks I constructed to get through the pains of growing up were helpful. It would be
insane to claim anything else. However there is a problem we never think of at first. The masks we build start to become less of a mask and more of a permanent fixture. I began to forget who I was.
Since I wore the mask I wore, that started to become the dominant feature of my personality. I assume that actors sometimes have difficulty in separating themselves from the characters they play. My life slowly, yet surely became a permanent production of the mask, that now was seemingly stuck to my existence.
The Real Tragedy
After awhile we have forgotten all about who we were in the past and the essence that we were born with that made us great in the first place. Sometimes events have forced us to wear the mask for protection, and the events which cause this frighten us so much that we feel we need them forever.
Then as life passes and we realize that something isn’t right, we see that the mask we are wearing is one that has made it almost impossible to remember anything about who we are. In fact we don’t think that we could recognize ourselves, even if we saw us. That loss of identity is the real tragedy of the mask.
Losing your Mask
Like anything that is built sturdily and over so much time, getting rid of your mask is not something that you can do in a day, or a week or sometimes even a year. Yet it is not complicated and anyone can do it.
The trick to getting rid of your mask is to learn to accept who you really are and to love that person. All of the negative voices that fill your head with negative gibberish need to be expelled. All of the past bad experiences need to be forgiven and you need to forgive yourself.
The biggest fear of someone who wears a mask is that someone else will see through it and reject or be horrified by what they see. That can’t be the case because each of us is born with a unique person inside that is the essence of greatness. If someone sees something other than that, then they are looking in a mirror.