I am pretty sure I was born a much more sensitive being than what I became. At a young age I learned how to not show much in the way of emotion. Sometimes the people who are supposed to love us and nurture us end up doing the opposite and we learn way too soon how hard the world can be. The easy way to deal with that is often just to turn off the more sensitive emotions in life. We put on a mask so that people only see what we know is safe to share or so they see what they want to see.
Quick Insert: this blog post has been sitting as a draft for days because it was not coming together. A distant friend and I were talking about masks we wear and all of a sudden the idea became cohesive. To that friend, thank you for the inspiration.
The problem is that we hurt ourselves when we don’t let ourselves feel or show the feelings we have. I know I did not realize that is what I was doing. There were times when I felt like something was off and I would try letting that more sensitive side out, but the reality of this world is that often can be quite painful. So I learned how to share a little of my feelings, but to keep everything a little restrained. To the people who are closest to me this must get frustrating. Often when I am feeling particularly happy, emotional, or loving I tend to get more reserved. Through the past several years I have worked on expressing these good things more as that is the only way to be authentic and true to myself. In reality, it has been a difficult journey because when you grow up not expressing these things freely then it can be a bit scary to start expressing them. Taking the mask off is hard when we have gotten so used to wearing it that we forget we even have it on. We all know that it brings about a vulnerability because if you share these sensitive little spots of your soul and they are rejected or ridiculed it can tear your soul apart.
There are a few people who I have lowered the mask for. The circle is incredibly small. Those people are so precious because they are the people who teach you how to love yourself fully, the ones who are quick to remind you that it is okay to actually express yourself. For so long I tried to not need anyone. We have this crazy thing about not needing anyone in our culture, but in reality we really do. We need each other. Sure, we can make it through this life without other people, but it is a damn lonely and dark place when you don’t have others to share it with. The right people build you up, they celebrate the good with you, and they love you through the times you can’t see past the dark around you. They also know when to practice tough love or when they should just create space and let you be in the emotions you are feeling.
It took a long time to accept this. To accept that it is okay to need to have people in your life. The right people make it much easier to accept this.
Sometimes the universe does this thing where it plants someone in your life who truly teaches you that it is okay to let yourself be completely yourself, sensitive side and all. Suddenly you don’t just lower the mask, you drop it. In the moment that the mask falls you realize how much better life is when you aren’t even holding the mask at all.
Let your masks fall. Some people won’t like it, but the right people will celebrate it and love you all the more for it. When the mask comes off is when the wonderfully special person you are can shine brightest.