It has recently occurred to me that most people are afraid to let their authentic selves be seen. We seem to spend a lot of time and energy trying to mask who we really are; for fear that others won’t like us if they really get to know us. This seems rather ironic, since underneath it all, we really just want to be loved and appreciated for who we are…without pretense.

It sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? We keep putting on layers of protective coating and building walls around ourselves so that we don’t get hurt. Then, we wonder why we can’t feel authentic and just enjoy being; without having to be constantly concerned about how the world perceives us.  We wonder why people can’t just like us the way we are! But…most of the time, we don’t give others the chance to even get to know who we really are! That makes about as much sense as wearing gloves during a manicure!

I think it is in the unexpected times of sorrow or fear that we allow ourselves to remove the masks and see that we are all really on the same ground.   While sitting in an emergency room and waiting nervously for test results, I looked at all of the other people in the same situation…patients and their loved ones alike. Everyone was worried, scared, sick or lonely. We were all just people, hoping for good news and wishing we were somewhere else. It didn’t matter who had the most money, who had achieved the most success, or who had the best hairstyle. Everyone looks the same in a hospital gown with the back flapping open! We are all just bald beneath our hair and naked beneath our clothes.

As a child, I loved to play dress-up, and when I was in costume, I became that character! I tried to use it to my advantage. As a royal princess, I certainly could not be expected to clean my room and surely, my mother would not ask a pirate to take out the trash…especially one with an eye patch! Unfortunately, she saw things differently and had no qualms about reminding me that she knew who I really was underneath those clothes and wigs.

As an adult, sometimes, I still find myself pretending to be something else if I don’t think the real me measures up to the occasion…although I rarely wear pirate pants and an eye patch. It might be ego, fear, past experiences or maybe just the human condition which causes us to do these things, but I think we all deny our authentic selves every now and again.  I know a man who can only speak in front of a group if he wears glasses, even though he doesn’t need them for vision. He hides behind them and in his mind, it’s not him speaking…it is another character, so there is no chance of him feeling inadequate.

We all need to remember that each one of us is a pretty amazing creature just as we are, and no fictional representation could possibly measure up to the real deal!


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