Every day in the news we hear stories about people who seem relatively happy with their lives and yet they go and do something horrific, like crash a plane filled with passengers. What the news is revealing is that the man’s life was falling apart: a lover had recently left him, his eyesight was becoming such a problem that he was going to have to give up his job and doing the thing he loved most (flying), and he had a history of battling depression.
He wore a mask of the happy man who had it all: a fabulous career, a great relationship. So when those things fell apart, the only thing he had left to expose to the world was his true self and apparently he didn’t feel that self was worthy of life. Perhaps if he had loved himself more, he would realize that there was more to him than a beautiful girlfriend and a glamorous job.
Why would someone do something so terrible? Depression? A sense of hopelessness? No one really knows, but here is what I know and believe to be true: we all wear masks. We all have to 1) realize that no one is as perfect as we imagine they are, in fact if they are “perfect” then they are probably wearing a mask, so we cannot compare ourselves to them and 2) we should learn to practice self-acceptance, loving ourselves, our true selves, so we don’t need to wear a mask because we feel comfortable and at peace with who we are.
I am often taken aback when someone says to me, “You wrote a book about bouncing back so you can’t have a bad day!” Really? So, I guess that means all the people who ever wrote books about happiness and self-love never doubt who they are. I am here to share that we all have some issue we are facing every day, whether we write books about it or not. We are all going through something. No one gets off easy!
Be honest with yourself. Recognize when, maybe during stressful times or when faced with negative situations, you are tempted to don a mask instead of loving yourself and asking for help if necessary. And realize that if you are always trying to be your authentic self, then when your loved ones are stressed or dealing with their own troubles, they will feel more comfortable trusting you to tell you the truth or to reach out for assistance, instead of hiding behind a mask, never healing, and potentially self-destructing.
When do you find you are most likely to don a ‘mask’? When you’re stressed, angry, sad? Please share in the comments!
I think I have a tendency to whip out the ol’ mask most readily when I’m sad. I don’t get stressed out over much and when I’m angry, I express it (in a reasonable way – I don’t fly off the handle usually). But when I’m sad, I kind of feel like I don’t want to bring anyone else down, so I put on that HAPPY mask sometimes…