The US is buzzing with political opinion, judgments, and even mud-slinging about masks. Wear it. Drop it. It’s gotten so bad here that folks can almost tell if you’re republican or democrat based on whether or not you’re wearing a mask.
Scientific opinion seems to change every time we open a search page.
All this talk about masks leads me to think about the other kind of mask.
After all, there are two types of masks.
One is tangible, designed to provide a physical barrier to block the spread of illness. By now, you probably have one of this type to color-coordinate with your daily outfit, and another that’s silly or funny. These masks are designed to block airborne illness from you to others. It’s really only the highest medical quality (N-95) mask that works to block the virus from reaching your lungs.
The other type of mask is intangible. It’s an invisible one. Maybe you’re not even aware you have one of these. It’s also known as a facade. We wear invisible masks all the time, without even thinking about it. We wear our invisible masks to block the undesirable effects of truth.
“How are you?” . . . “I’m fine.”
Conditioned as children to behave properly, we learned to dampen or conceal our natural responses. That’s not entirely a bad thing. If we didn’t hold back much of what pops into our thoughts and emotions, chaos would reign.
Relating to others through our facades might in some way protect us, but there are side effects.
Some effects are mild, like not getting our true feelings out and ending up with the need to find a release. Some can be more disruptive, like becoming ineffective at honest relationships, leading to poor job performance or even divorce. More severe side effects of living behind a facade can be grave, like becoming completely dissociated from your true self, or becoming so isolated and lonely that life loses its meaning and joy.
So what do we do about this? Do we just drop our masks?
I recall a time when I wanted to completely drop my facade of being “fine” all the time. I wanted to pursue my ideal of living a fully authentic life. I soon discovered (yep, the hard way) that most folks don’t feel comfortable with this level of honesty.
Imagine! Can you say ostracized? Distanced? Rejected? Maybe even persecuted?
Lesson Learned: There are times and places where it is safer to wear a mask. That invisible mask protects us—and others—from harmful vitriol.
It’s okay to make determinations for ourselves about where and with whom we choose to drop our masks.
There are safe places to drop your mask. There are people and times where you can safely lower your invisible mask without causing hurt or being hurt in return.
And if the situation changes, it’s also okay to change that decision and slip your mask back up for a while.
We can be authentic, honest and open people without necessarily spilling our guts all over the place.
How about you? What have you learned about wearing or dropping your facade?
Heart to Heart,Joan T. Warren
Oh, and kudos to Jason Youngman, whose blog post “Jason Without His Mask” sparked my ideas for today’s post. Check his blog out here: