What if we removed the mask?

“Hi! How are you?”

“Fine, thank you.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth!  And both speakers intuitively know it.

But who really wants to know how you’re doing?  Twenty-first century living doesn’t seem to lend itself to genuine disclosure.  It just takes up too much time, and it gets … complicated.  Or does it?

We make a tacit pact, apparently with ourselves, in which we agree to keep a mask on for a good part of our lives.  We keep our true feelings, even the most inane and mundane, expertly hidden.

The mask helps keep at bay prying eyes that would see who we really are, warts and all.  

  • It erects a barrier to true communication, to the comforting yet challenging cadence of sharing life authentically with others.  
  • It morphs into a retaining wall that buttresses distrust, fear, discomfort, and self-preservation.
  • It nurtures selfishness and self-centeredness.
  • It thrives under the guise of politeness but does its wearer a great disservice by creating a disconnect between the true you and the masked you.
  • It creates a stumbling block to the pleroma, or fullness of life, that God wants us to enjoy.

Thing is, we are the ones who put on the mask.  No-one puts it on us.  And so the choice is ours to remove it.

  • What if we shed the cuteness and the vacuousness that passes for conversation and decided to keep it one hundred?
  • What if we chose to share our hurts and our joys, to be transparent about the things that mattered to us?
  • What if, instead of air kisses and fake hugs, we cut the crap and took the time to look each other in the eye and genuinely do life together?

We might become healthier people, not just mentally, but spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Our children might thank us for showing them what authenticity looks like.

We might barf up some ugly stuff, but it just might lead to a more beautiful life that really counts for something.

People might begin to believe that we truly are Christians by the genuine love we show to each other, and, by extension, to ourselves.


Comments

  1. I just absolutely love this. How often have we asked and answered that question in a non-genuine way. I loved when you said, “Our children might thank us for showing them what authenticity looks like.” That is truth. In this age of technology what we really need are more genuine moments between each other, not less. GREAT post. –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..“Arie” Ready To Know The Tweeting Champion?My Profile

  2. Alison, yes and amen. Wow. Such powerful insight and truth. “What if…” indeed.

    • Dina, it’s a challenge I deal with daily. I tend to keep my cards close to my chest, so I have had to learn to remove the mask with people, but with discernment. Not everyone needs to be up in my stuff, if you know what I mean!
      Alison recently posted..What if we removed the mask?My Profile

  3. This is SUCH a great ! I was thinking the same thing just a couple days ago. Who do we really know, very few ppl. So many of us is hiding behind our skin. This is my first time visiting your blog and I love it. I found you by visiting DYWW…I was last so I did not sign up and figured I would visit some of the participants any way. I am MIA for a couple months but I am back. Visit me over at
    Living F.A.B.ulously on Purpose

    • Hi Margaret! So glad to have you here at Embrace the Struggle. You’re right, we really know very few people intimately. We keep the real us to ourselves, to our detriment. But hey, we can always choose to reveal our true selves with trusted people, bit by bit. I’ll be subscribing to your blog right now. Glad that you’re back!

  4. This is a great post Alison. I agree with removing the mask with decernment. I’m so used to listening to other people’s hurts that I tend to feel like “I’ll be ok, right now, I want to make sure you’re ok” and sometimes, I’m not ok, but I pour it before God. I have my one and two that I can be totally transparent with.
    Love the song.
    Hope recently posted..Good times with a great friend (A getaway)My Profile

    • I do the same thing, Hope! I’m always the “listening friend” so putting on a mask has almost become a default setting for me. And I do pour it out before God, and He’s been good to furnish me with a few people with whom I can truly keep it real.

      The song is a fave of mine. I love Natalie Grant’s songs and her involvement in the slavery abolition movement!
      Alison recently posted..What if we removed the mask?My Profile

  5. *SIGHS* the masks are SO REAL Alison. I have been very guilty of this before! Awesome advice! I saw you on a getaway, hope you enjoyed!
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted..A Review of Les Mills BODYCOMBAT 56 : The MatrixMy Profile

  6. What a great post and I love the artwork. That is lovely. I just wish people would take more TIME for friendship. Everyone I know is SO busy with work, kids, and their lives in general, it’s like an act of Congress to get them to just take a minute and sit down for a cup of coffee or go out somewhere for a meal. I think we all need to take more time for simple friendship.
    Adrian recently posted..Clutterbugs: Organizing the Disorganized ChildMy Profile

    • “It’s like an act of Congress to get them to just take a minute and sit down for a cup of coffee or go out somewhere for a meal.” Funny, but sadly it’s true, Adrian. What on earth is up with that? And I’ve been guilty of it so many times it’s not funny. If we’re not intentional about going back to the basics of “old-fashioned” friendships, we’re doomed. Crazy!

  7. Hey Alison! Loved this! Especially your line…”What if, instead of air kisses and fake hugs, we cut the crap and took the time to look each other in the eye and genuinely do life together?” So true my friend! Life has gotten so hectic that no one takes the time anymore to sit down and actually see what the other is going through. We are our brother’s/sister’s keeper, aren’t we? Thanks so much for sharing and thanks for linking up my friend! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!
    Michell recently posted..Dear mom…My Profile

    • We’ve sort of lost the art of being our bro/sis’s keeper, Michell. Sad but true. Let’s each agree to extend a genuine hand (or ear) of friendship. It definitely can make a difference!
      Alison recently posted..BlessingsMy Profile

  8. Alison,
    This post resonated with me because I despise disingenuous behavior. I don’t do fake hugs and I run from small talk. I cut the crap and look people in their pupils and I expect you to look me in mine. When people ask me how I’m doing, my usual reply is do you really care. You should see the looks I get! I live in a city of mask wearers (Los Angeles, CA) so you can imagine how challenging my life must be but you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way. People know what they’re getting when they come in my direction.

    Authentic is the only way to be for me. Can’t, won’t live my life any other way. The other day on Twitter I asked, are you ever afraid of yourself. My answer is yes because I have the gumption of Betty White and I’m nowhere near her age. It feels great and its truly liberating!
    Yvonne chase recently posted..Christian Singles Chat Rewind: Better Celibate Than SorryMy Profile

  9. “I don’t do fake hugs and I run from small talk.” You’re talking my language, Yvonne. Who has time for this fakery anyway? Authenticity is the way to go!
    Alison recently posted..Three reasons to pursue “Pura Vida”My Profile

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