I was with a group of ladies last week. We ate good food, shared stories, then sat down to do what we were there for. Learn together and connect. We’re doing a book study. But what always happens is way more than a book study. Relationships are formed, hearts are connected, and lives are shared.
In the beginning, we don’t share as freely. Our talk is more about the weather or our jobs. As we get to know one another we start telling stories of our families and friends. Eventually we are comfortable enough to share more. While we’re talking about the book one of us will share a related personal experience. Another one shares, then another. At the end of the 8 to 12 week study we know each other on a deeper level.
Hopefully, we’ve let our guards down, taken off the mask, and quit pretending. We’ve connected. That happens when we uncover the deep things of our hearts.
Still, we all have a mask……….a brilliant disguise that we’ve created for others to see. Sometimes it’s needed and serves us well.
When I interviewed for my current job, I pretended to be confident as I discussed the position and answered their questions. What the interviewers didn’t know: I was intimidated and nervous. Nevertheless, I was offered the job. I believe my act of self-assurance helped me get it.
But we wear our disguises too often. We think we need them. We believe if others knew our past, our thoughts and quirks, odd habits and fixations, our tendencies and dark addictions that they would stop liking us, ignore us, or worse…..avoid us. However, genuine relationships require we reveal our true identity.
An intimate marriage can’t happen with a brilliant disguise; close friendships either. The facade affects our parenting and frustrates our children. Our kids, especially teenagers, want the real deal.
The disguise makes us unapproachable and guarded. We become judgmental because we forget who we are. The disguises, no matter how brilliant, may protect us from harm some of the time, but will hinder love all of the time.
But when I discard the disguise wonderful things happens. People connect with the authenticity and see something familiar. Some of our fears are lifted. I recognize that I am not the only one with that past or those thoughts. My strange ways aren’t so unusual and my weaknesses are quite common. We all feel less lonely which makes us more willing to take the mask off again.
Wear your mask for your next presentation at work. Take it off when your teenager asks if you’ve ever made a bad decision, when your friend calls to tell you some bad news, or you notice a co-worker with tears in her eyes. And try not to put it back on.
We’re more brilliant when we’re unmasked anyway.
I agree whole heartedly with your description of groups. I love how they can turn into so much more and become an important part of our lives–to celebrate our good times and help us through the sad times. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, it is such a sweet time. The group becomes a safe place to take off the mask. Then we begin to take it off more and more until finally we hardly put it on at all.
Followig your own dreams while living life’s adventure is always better than living someone else’s dreams. Great blog!
Thank you. You’re right. I have to admit that the “adventure” of taking care of my family, working a full-time job, and trying to do it all well hardly ever gets boring.
Live in the present and enjoy these days with your children. They grow up fast. Mine are now my best friends and travel with me when ever they can get off work but those days when they were little were golden!
Thank you for that. Mine are all teens so I am certainly trying to treasure all the moments I have.
Beautifully and throughtfully expressed Marie. I completely agree with you. I’m glad I found you through Blogging101.
Thank you Michelle. I feel the same way.
How true this is Marie, I guess the masks are the means we can protect ourselves from what others may say or do to us. Yet when we allow ourselves to be real and risk whatever happens that is when we discover how supportive people are and willing to always give an ear. Thank you once again so thought provoking.
Thank you. You’re right, the masks make us feel less vulnerable. But it’s only through openly sharing our hearts that we experience true community.
I love this post!! I’m so glad you shared it so I was able to read it. It is very true, and some great stories and examples to back up what you are saying. I have a feeling I will be thinking about this a lot as I go about my life! Thank you!
God never fails, I’ve been praying to be more vulnerable and this blog helped clarify the path I should follow. Thank you.
Amy, great to hear! Can’t wait to walk and talk together tomorrow. See you soon!!
I’ve found that being unmasked can get you into real trouble. Sadly the true face we present needs to be carefully presented because not everyone likes to hear the truth.
You’re right. Being vulnerable can be risky.
I love your post! When I make myself vulnerable, I become stronger. There’s always someone who can relate to my experience, and the strength comes from knowing I’m not alone.
Thank you so much. You’re right we are stronger when we take the mask off. Our stories are important so that others know they’re not alone.
Great posting with wisdom and insight.
Thank you. I’ve learned the hard way that living unmasked is the best way to live.
Well said. http://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/20/danger-in-disguise/
I learned a lot from reading your post it is well written. I always try to be myself and I was happy to note you have put a lot of emphasis on it. Ranu
I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s one of those things I’ve had to learn over and over but it is easier now than it used to be.
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