Underneath the Mask - Finding Ourselves
The masks that many of us feel forced to wear throughout our adult lives serve us well, or so we choose to believe; creating a wall between the self-known and the self-seen. But do we truly know ourselves or do we, over time, become a creation of our own making, based upon the expectations of others? What would happen if we allowed ourselves to be exposed for all the idiosyncrasies and soul-baggage that make up our true selves? Would it be too much for others to bear? Many of us think so and, consequently, close the door on our most primal of psychological needs - being understood.
The art of communication, after all, is founded on the principle of this small but vital premise and goes far deeper than vocabulary comprehension. True communication begins with showing ourselves for who we truly are and that’s where the psychological implications of deprivation in this area can surface. The old world of community is rapidly vanishing and, for the majority of us, gone are the days when we can pop next door to Granny’s for tea and reflection. Nowadays the concept of neighbourhood cohesion has all but been replaced by street segregation; an absence of family values and a society that is spoon-fed fear and suspicion as part of its daily media diet.
We all deserve to allow ourselves the freedom of being simply ‘ourselves’ and yet, through social separation, this small thing is perhaps our biggest fear. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all step out for the day free of our masks and show ourselves for the people we are inside; the ones the world never sees? Wouldn’t this perhaps offer the ‘salvation’ we all seek from today’s lonely universe? Or would it give us an even greater feeling of despair? Has society, in fact, educated us too well in the art of socially-acceptable emotions and personas that we can no longer fully relate to other souls with empathy and compassion? Perhaps we’ll never know and the only clue we might find is in the words and writings of others which, in some small way, may provide us with the connectivity we seek.
The one thing I can say for certain is that wherever our minds may take us (on or off the page) and whatever roads we physically travel along throughout life, we will always have a constant need to know ‘ who we are’ and ‘what our place is in the world around us’ - the truly fortunate amongst us may just be lucky enough to find out!
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