Sunday, November 18, 2012

Have You Taken Off Your Mask?


Wearing a mask can be a rather insidious form of dishonesty. It is very enforced by our social norms and interactions. Since social decorum is required to a degree for a civilized society to function, this makes it very difficult to ignore since my ego believes it to be an accepted Truth.
I received this poem from a good friend and subscriber who lives in Florida. It underscores issues I have raised in several of my posts about the importance to me of being honest. Perhaps you will discover how important it is to you, too.
“Out and about, I started thinking about Halloween and the masks people wear.  And then it struck me that we all wear our own masks all the time. What mask do you wear to hide the real you? I hid behind the mom mask, the student mask, the wife mask and now the “old” mask. 
HALLOWEEN MASK
By Jeanette Zanghi
Phony people
Wear a
Plastic mask,
Evil people
Wear a
Monster mask,
Sweet people
Wear an
Angelic mask,
Take off
The mask,
Don’t hide--
“You” are
Beautiful.
Wearing a mask can be a rather insidious form of dishonesty. It is very enforced by our social norms and interactions. Since social decorum is required to a degree for a civilized society to function, this makes it very difficult to ignore since my ego believes it to be an accepted Truth.
By being honest – I don’t mean being brutal. Brutal honesty is simply another form of anger and aggression. For example when people innocently (we presume) inquire “How’re ya doin’?” you don’t need to tell them to f**k-off because you don’t feel like being sweet today. When people ask for your opinion about something or some issue, you don’t need to berate their sense of dress-code or their intelligence. But you can say honestly, but gently, that normally stripes don’t go with plaids. That you used to think the same way about those issues, but have since read X, Y, and Z and now have come to different conclusions. That’s wearing your honest-but-gentle mask – rather than hiding behind the always-need-to-be tactful-even if it means don’t answer their question-for-fear-of-hurting-someone’s-feelings mask.
By being honest – I don’t mean sharing delicate personal information that is unnecessary for your honesty. For example you don’t have to tell your 12-Step group or your bridge buddies or your yoga class members or the cashier at the grocery store that you are “kinda down” today because your erectile dysfunction kicked in last night and you disappointed your mate and that always makes you feel inferior. You don’t have to tell the folks who have asked, “How are you today?” as a matter of common courtesy, that your PMS kicked in big time yesterday evening and you called your husband a slovenly SOB, hit his head with a frying pan, kicked him in the groin, ripped out some recently planted hair plugs, and sent him to the Emergency Room. Since you are dreading going to see him, you are feeling “kinda down.”  But you can say, “I’m feeling ‘kinda down’ today. Sorry I’m not my perky self.” That’s wearing your as-real-as-I-can-be-for-today mask, rather than hiding behind the always-need-to-make-people-feel-good-because-that’s-what-active-listeners-do mask.
Jeanette’s poem is right on the money.
Being as honest as I can be in whatever situation I’ve found myself in has been critical to my overcoming toxic shame. It’s been critical on my journey to sobriety and the transformation it effected. It has allowed me to feel comfortable (not arrogant and mean-spirited in the name of honesty) in my own skin. I’m certainly not perfect but, as a good friend continually says in our Course in Miracles (ACIM) meetings, “I’m a work in progress.”
Today – at least – that’s enough for me. To be honest. To be a living example of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). To be without that sickening feeling inside that the “me” you think you’re dealing with isn’t the real me. Unless you’ve been there you can have no idea what a true relief it is to be without those inadequate, dishonest, this-isn’t-me feelings.
Thank you, Jeanette, and thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Don
#3 November, 2012
Copyright, 2012
 PS: I will be traveling to my daughter’s over Thanksgiving and the ensuing weekend. There will be no message on November 25.

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