Masks are one of the most remarkable manmade creations used in rituals throughout recorded history, used by our ancestors to form a bridge between themselves and the Divine. Though in modern times the mask has a negative connotation of disguise with the intent to deceive, the ancient world perceived masks as tools of revelation, a connection to invisible powers.
“Identity masks” are often worn to hide the vulnerable parts of ourselves, and most of them are molded in response to societal demands, parental suggestions and peer pressure. Most of us wear some sort of mask to introduce ourselves to the world. It is not done to deceive anybody; rather, it is an effort we make to ensure that we are accepted and loved by others. Many feel that they could not be accepted for who they truly are, so they slip the mask on. Sometimes they become so used to doing it, that they are unable themselves to differentiate who they truly are from who they believe people want them to be.
We constantly blame the world for not accepting us for who we are, yet we don’t fully accept ourselves. We would rather go on and be who we are not, rather than recognize that the standards we measure ourselves against are manmade and often based on others’ perceptions of good and bad. The person who lives inside of us may be scared, bruised, shy, but it is rarely bad. The need to hide behind a mask is self-imposed, and as such it can be eliminated.
If we take a glimpse of our true selves, who are we, really? Are we truly the person we are portraying? Or is that person someone our caregivers and societies wanted it to be? Do we really believe what we claim to believe? Do we really despise what we assert to despise? Or have we grown to believe we do just because it would make someone else happy and proud? What about you? Who is the true self hidden behind your mask?