You wear a mask so long, you forget, who you were beneath it.

Do you remember the days when you were a toddler? Laugh when you feel like, cry when you get hurt, and smile for no reason, generally happy unless disturbed by adults. Those were the days when you could just be yourself, natural self. No assumptions, no perceptions, no obligations and, such a carefree world it was!

It is not the same anymore! Has the time changed it or we have changed ourselves while growing up? Is it our perceptions on adapting to the surroundings or the social compulsion to get aligned with our living environment?

How many of you think that we always behave as we are? While living in this civilized society, we need to face varieties of situations and people. Are you the same one in all the places? As easy as it is to wear a mask, we tend to adapt to the situation and modify our talks and behaviors. So we have innumerable virtual masks to wear. Is it a side effect of growing up? Does the capability for this adaptation define a person?

How many types of masks do you have?  Do you spend most of your energy to live up to the expectations of others?  As a worker, employee, employer, student, spouse, parent, son/daughter, neighbor, consumer, shopper, member of communities and so on. Many more diverse roles to play on a daily basis. So many masks to wear!  At times, they may have similar features or can be of contradicting features too!

While handling many roles, how much deviation do you face from your core behavior? It varies from situation to situation. This deviation can put a strain on the person. When the mask is voluntary and aligned to our core values, it is a joy to wear it. However, the mask worn out of compulsions drains the energy and results in physical or mental stress on individuals. With the social norms to comply and the pressure be a perfect/ideal person, it is possible to forget your own nature, and how you used to act, react, reply and behave.

Over a period of time, our nature itself may change due to the situation based talks and behavior. It is like, the mask becoming our face and we tend to forget who we are and how we were.

If the change due to the mask is helping to improve ourselves, then let it be. Otherwise better to throw away the mask or come out of the situations that force us to behave in a certain way which impacts us negatively. Some masks may hurt you when it is on. Ethical, cultural and psychological differences between you and the mask can bruise your mind.

Here is a list of actions to check and  reduce the negative impacts of these virtual masks:

  • Take your time to think of the masks you wear/ situations you face.
  • Which of the masks is helping you to be a better person?  You may extend the duration of it.
  • Which of them is causing a negative impact on your physical and mental health?
  • Are there any preventive actions you can take to mitigate them?
  • Otherwise, think of ideas to avoid negative masks or modify them. Work on it.

Let us strive to wear less of the masks and allow the original self to shine out. Look for the masks that can polish the self and improve it to glow.

—Anitha KC

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