E. E. Cummings wrote, “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.”
People just put facades out there. They even admit that one facade is a little more real than the other. You go to work and get lost in your professional facade, but then you say. “I’m going home to be with my family and friends where I can just be myself.” So your work facade drops into the background, and your relaxed social facade comes forward. But what about you, the one who is holding the facade together? Nobody gets near that one. That’s just too scary. That one is too far back there to deal with.
from The Untethered Soul The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer.
Oh, the armor we put on every morning becomes heavier to bear, year-after-year. Tara Brach calls it our “spacesuit strategy“, we slip it on every day as we head out into the world to attract attention, admiration, and appreciation. No wonder why we are so mentally exhausted, always trying to be something we are not for temporary shots of counterfeit recognition.
These emotional masks, the masks we hide behind because of fear. For example, if we are insecure, we might hide behind the mask of name-dropping. If we are unsure of our power, we can hide behind mask of being a bully. If we don’t think the world loves us, we can hide behind mask of anger. We mask the debt we’ve incurred to pay for lifestyles we can’t afford; we pretend things are fine at work, when our jobs are on the line; we pretend things are okay in our marriages when there is distance.
It starts with just noticing when you are not being you. When you are saying things and doing things just to get attention or acknowledgment. Just think about how nice you are to people when they behave in accordance with your expectations.
Artwork by Dimitra Milan