Take Off Your Mask
Most people care far too much what others think of them.
They live lives in which they are “supposed to act a certain way” or “expected to be a certain kind of person”. Worse than this - I can pin point the average person’s personality by looking at them for 10 seconds. The saying that “most women (or men) are the same” is not far off - because I can tell you everything about most people within 30 seconds of meeting them. They wear their politics, their beliefs, and their worldview on their sleeve.
We all wear masks.
Some of us wear them literally today, and that’s a whole different point we won’t get into in this article. But - the fact remains the same. Perhaps, for some people, it’s best they hide their face from the world. But not so for those that are real people.
The truth is that you need to take off your mask: The world can only truly love you when you are who you truly are - every minute of your life.
I have seen so many people that are so unhappy, simply because they aren’t living an authentic existence. They are who other people expect them to be, they are shaped by others instead of living unapologetically - and to me, there is nothing more sad. There is nothing more desperate than a man that is being dragged around by his wife to places that he doesn’t want to go, to things he doesn’t want to do. Or a person that has outgrown his friends only to stay in the same thought and behaviour patterns that no longer serve him.
Ironically, I write this as I sit in a coffeeshop and a man I once knew many years ago came in with his wife and her friends - HIS SOUL IS GONE IN HIS EYES. HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE HERE, HE HAS NOT SAID A WORD SINCE THEY GOT HERE.
It is potentially the biggest happiness trap - The Identity Trap as Harry Browne calls it in his book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World”. We are not our true selves because we have to act, say, be, and do as others want us to. It is an impediment to our freedom as a soverign individual. We are continually trying to please other people - without ever pleasing ourselves.
It’s why there is a penchant for ’finding oneself’. It’s why so many people go on trips to far off places to explore their true nature (whether they find it or not is another question altogether).
I’m sure you can think of inauthentic people that you know. I remember one guy I met up with that appeared to be authentic, but he took 20 takes on his instagram story to finally get the words out that he meant to say. He cared far too much what others thought of him. I know of people that only like the “mainstream” shows, and music, and culture, because it is what everyone else is into. Nothing is more LAME.
If you don’t like something, you need not do it, or be around it.
I don’t like drinking to excess, nor do I like watching broadcast sports. I don’t do these things, and never will. I have been called “weird” or “a square” by people before, but I do not care - enjoy the things you enjoy: I don’t judge people for liking a local sports team or following the most recent news. If that’s what brings them joy, then so be it.
But does it?
Is it perhaps what you believe brings you joy because everyone else told you that it’s what brings joy?
If you enjoy something, you do not have to answer to anyone why you like that thing. If you like country music but those around you like dance music, and think you are silly for liking different music, why do you care? Why do you care what anyone else would think of your tastes in books, or film, or your desire to be left alone?
You only have one life to live - the sooner you find out who you truly are, the faster that you will find true happiness. I believe you cannot be happy without being who you are. You cannot find actual bliss in this world if you hide from the rest of the world. It doesn’t work that way.
Ask yourself in each and every moment if what you are doing is 1000% what you really want to be doing. Ask yourself if the person you are with others is who you authentically are, or are you putting on a show for them because you want people to like you. Ask yourself if you actually want the thing you are thinking of buying, or are you buying it to look “cool” to others. Ask yourself if you want to live where you’re living, or are you simply there because it is comfortable.
Finding out who you are involves hard conversations with yourself. It is not easy in the modern world to go through the process - there is so much distraction, so much designed to shut off your ability to question. Much of our consumerist culture is built around numbing pain because it’s the only way we know how to deal with the existential dread of being someone that we aren’t meant to be.
Where the majority of people go, you should not. If you want to retain your own soul in modernity, you have to stand out from the crowd. You have to stop caring what others think of you. Only then can they truly relate to you, and feel your presence. You cannot relate to a robot, or a sheep. You can only relate to a person that is fully, without apology, a human being.
We talk about the authenticity gap: people are thirsting for realness. They can sense when people aren’t authentic: and they hate it.
So, be you. Be who you were meant to be. Not who others, or the media, or the mainstream, or the movies, or whoever or whatever told you to be. Like what you like, do what you want to do, and maybe, just maybe, you will set yourself free.
Until next time.