Sylvia Icharia

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What if you peeled off the mask you are wearing?

Are you wearing any mask?
How many masks are you wearing?
Why are you wearing it?
Is their any one person who sees what's behind the masks you wear?
The freedom and joy of being ourselves without fear

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    Jul 18 2013: For communication effectiveness as well as due to socio cultural norm , I talk, act differently with different people or with same people at different time or situation , are those being considered to be different masks? If so , then I need to count how many masks I have....it must be numerous.

    But if mask is to mean to deceive others either for my personal gain or to harm others...then I don't have any ....which I heard many a times from my acquaintances...... may be I feel breathless so can't wear such mask....at times was in trouble even, due to that inability.
  • Jul 17 2013: I'm former military, I used to wear a mask as hard as cast iron. Taking the bloody thing off was the single biggest relief of my life. Now I only have to utilize the same masks everyone else does.

    You'll notice that if you monitor your own behavior, you don some masks as naturally as breathing.
    You act differently around your spouse than you do with your grandmother, and differently in a group than you act when you're alone, or amongst your friends or a group of strangers. These are all subtle, to a point most people don't even notice they're there.
    This is of course without getting into the less subtle masks you often put on artificially, like how to act around the boss. This you put on consciously, that feel unnatural, at least at first (in the military, they try to get that mask to feel so natural it starts melding into your face).

    It may sound sociopaths or cowardly, but really, we couldn't function as part of normal society without these masks. You can't go around acting the same way to everyone you meet, at least not without dire social consequences.

    I'd go as far as saying that there is really nothing behind the mask. Who you really are, includes all those personas you take with you to different situations. There is no natural default situation, you are all of them. Different facets show themselves at different times, but they never really stop existing just because they're not in use at a specific moment.
  • Jul 30 2013: Thank you, Sylvia, for those uncomfortable words. And although my closet to house those masks has grown dusty and thankfully less frightening over the years, my many faces are perhaps the only collection I shall hope to never be without. These personas we have been- or deigned to be or tried to be- each is us, in part and in total, even if lifted nuance by nuance directly from another"s playbook. In identity there is multiplicity.and this union of our identities is our essence. Our masks are only a tidy way to compartmentalize their memories long after the bravado or sass or direction for which it served is long since gone. Each discovered and shared our secrets and surprises. i still relish with secret surprise the arrival of one unexpected. Sometimes i try on its shoes.

    My masks are all now for the most part old friends and familiar. Some are dated. Some sleep all day. A few still do not like me. These few still try to see behind the others but we do not let them. And even they now know it is only a game. They like the others have become trusted confidants who know already. And have already forgiven. And chuckled. Now and again, they are afraid that their place is not secure a little. But, only a little, as who chucks out an old pal?
  • Jul 21 2013: I am too old/experienced to bother with wearing a mask. As long as I can live with my conscience, that's all which matters to me. We will never please everyone, regardless of what we do so be yourself at all times, as long as you're morally strong.
  • Jul 19 2013: Defense mechanisms. Love them. Personally I think I only put one different mask on because its the only thing that gives me anxiety from the past(its not important what it is). I know and have addressed to myself that its wrong and I am currently working a self induced exposure therapy. I just believe this mask is still there. Everything else, parents vs professors vs friends, are all apart of who I am. Its not a mask exposing who to what. Its a choice. I don't believe anyone sees behind my mask because I am open most of the time and I'm just ignorant to know if they know.(for the one thing). I think I can catch a glimpse under alot of people's defense mechanism masks. If I don't know I ask about them.
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    Jul 18 2013: I mainly put on masks in order to respect my parents. For example, I don't cuss in front of my parents and won't tell all ;) of my jookes or thoughts. They are pretty much the only people where I will filter my expressions, but I will never filter my thoughts and I think that's the most important type of freedom.
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    Jul 17 2013: I am not sure I would say that not telling everyone everything about yourself is wearing a mask. I think of wearing a mask more as pretending to be something you are not or concealing something so as not to show who you truly are..

    Example: There are several active participants on the site who participate under their own names and who I strongly believe represent themselves exactly as they are- genuinely and with sincerity. The first who come to mind are Pat, Robert, and Pabitra, but there are others as well.

    They do not share things like how many kids they have or not or where they went to school and so forth.

    To me this is not wearing a mask. It is simply not sharing things that are not necessary in the setting.

    I notice that in the new thread about what combinations form the kaleidoscope or mosaic of the participants' identities, there have been few responses thus far. I could be wrong, but I interpret this as people's not wanting to share those personal details online, even those who participate under pseudonyms.

    Would you call the latter wearing a mask?
  • Jul 17 2013: I don't think I wear I mask.

    I do act and communicate differently with different people, and differently in different circumstances. I call this appropriate behavior. Revealing myself completely to a stranger would not just make me vulnerable; it would make me obnoxious. I do not start TED conversations about my favorite sex acts. Do you consider that hiding behind a mask?
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      Jul 17 2013: I agree with you Deepak that many times we wear masks that do others no harm.
      However, these masks may end up doing the wearer more harm than good.
      When one wears a mask to hide their true selves and their vulnerabilities, they may end up with a lot of internal tension because of having to live as if they have something to hide.
      • Jul 18 2013: I agree with both of you, Deepak and Sylvia. I do think though that many of us do not wear masks in order to intentionally harm others. But I also think that once there is someone (if there ever is) who catches a glimpse of you without a mask on and has realized it for what it is, they may feel hurt later on if in a situation with them you are again wearing a mask. They may feel a sense of distrust and an absence of connection with you, which I think is very hurtful from the perspective of a very close friend, family member, or significant other.