Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a fellow named Rich Warriner speak about relationships. When he shared the following statement, I had to whip out my phone and jot it down for future thought:
When I put on a mask, the only thing that gets loved is the mask.
Growing up, I learned it wasn't safe to show people who I genuinely was. Kids in school were (and still are) really mean to each other. Co-workers will take information you share about yourself and leverage it to their advantage. Worst of all, family and friends, those know you the best, know just the right buttons to push to get their needs met.
In order to survive, I put on many masks to cope with life. I put on a mask of an aloof loner. A wisecracking comedian. A roadraging bully. A sophisticated conversationalist. An emotional manipulator. An overt gentleman. Worst of all, I wore the mask of liar.
Those that decided to love me only were seeing the mask that I wore at that time. Not who I actually was: a shy, nervous boy who only wanted to play and have fun with others. Someone who wanted to be genuinely happy.
There's no moral for you to learn from. No bullet list of ways to change how you are. I just wanted to share an impactful sentence that got me thinking about how I portray myself to the world, who I am inside, and which masks I want to discard. Maybe you'll have some time to take a look at your mask collection and see what you're still wearing. I wish you the best.