In my previous blog I talked a bit about learning not to pretend, but to be yourself.
I’m actually learning that this is something that many of us are dealing with. The truth is, the masks that we wear to hide our true selves, our vulnerable, fragile, broken selves are keeping out the people we really need to keep close! The ones who help us keep it all together.
Many of us wear masks. Mine was pride and vanity. I wore these to hide the fact that I had been told for years at school that I was ugly, that I would never get a girlfriend. Twenty years later, married to a beautiful woman those same deep insecurities robbed me from appreciating what God had given me!
Your mask may be make up, it may be fashion, it may be being loud, or bolshy or it may even be comedy!
For instance, how many times have you watched a stand-up comedian and thought, I know why you first started telling jokes, it was to distract people from your weight/height/squeaky voice… ‘Laugh first and you laugh last’ kind of thing…
In the film The Mask, Jim Carrey portrays an Average Joe, Stanley Ipkiss, who upon discovering a mask unlocks an alter-ego who is not bashful in social situations, who is not backward when chatting to the ladies and who oozes charisma and charm…
This was a very successful film, effectively launching the careers of Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz, who plays the femme fatale, Tina Carlyle. The widely quoted catchphrase from the film was something The Mask said himself… “Somebody stop me!”
You see, wearing the mask became addictive to him, to the point that he couldn’t go out without it. He couldn’t trust himself to be himself!
However much bravado we may display when portraying our alter-ego, the real person inside is screaming “please, someone, stop me!” The truth is when you live a lie you are miserable, you don’t know your own identity and the mask gives people a false impression of who you are and how to behave towards you.
Taking off the mask is scary, it’s like riding a bike without stabilisers for the first time. Those crutches that you’ve relied on are no longer there!
Going out without the make up, or the flashy watch or just keeping your mouth shut so other people can get a word in edgeways at parties is difficult at first, but believe me, it’s worth it!
Because what I’m learning is that no one will bear their soul to you and open up themselves to a potential friendship or relationship on a meaningful level, if you are not willing to first be real with them.
Our identity firstly and foremostly, comes from our Creator, God. The Apostle Paul writes in Acts 17:28 “ For in Him we live and move and have our being.”
By knowing who’s we are, we can come to know who we are. Not a genetic mistake, not a freak of nature not a biological cosmic explosion, but a planned, considered and loved child of the Living God! Knowing that means we need not worry about what other people say about us or to us!
So today I encourage you to take off the mask and be real! Be real with yourself and be real to the people around you, and though people may not “like” you as much, ultimately the people that matter will respect you all the more for it, and you’ll respect yourself more too!