Will your mask protect you?

Image: Simon Wijers

It all started when we were born. Slung out from the comfort of our mother’s womb into an environment of eerie shadows, uncomfortable temperatures, and alarming sounds.

When we feel unsafe, our survival mechanisms trigger us to try to control our environment and people around us in order to return to safety. Some of them will let us. Especially if we’re adamant or persuasive enough about it and can — through our rage or sadness or apathy or fear — trigger their own insecurity and longing to be safe as well.

However, there comes a point when we realize we can’t control everyone.

So what do we do ?

We find that we can at least stay safe around them by getting them to approve of us. Because when they like what we do/don’t do, they won’t hurt us. As long as this happens, we’re cool.

This is how we develop our persona.

Our persona is an intricately designed defense mechanism.

It’s an act that’s set in place to fool all the big, scary monsters of the world into believing that we’re the way they want us to be.

The problem comes when we start believing it too — which pretty much all of us do after some time. It’s then that our persona becomes us. And if anyone damages that persona, it’s like they’re stabbing us with rusty knives.

But we must realize that it isn’t who we are. It’s easier said than done, but who we really are needs no mask.

Who we really are needs no mask.

Our mask was crafted by our misguided fears and insecurities. Often enough, we wake up to this. We no longer identify with it, but we feel that if we ditch it, we’ll lose everyone who’s fallen in love with it. The monsters will rush in and eat us.

Do you see your mask? Does it still serve you? Want to try on a new one or even shed it altogether (if this is even possible, I don’t know)?

Just some questions to ponder this weekend.

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