The Masks People Wear

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Have you ever seen a friend of yours do something that shocked you at the very core? Something that made you think, “I thought I knew him/her, I didn’t know they’d be like that”? What happens when we discover what lies below the masks that our friends and family wear in front of us?

Who do we blame for the masks that people wear? Society that defines how we are supposed to act even if it’s all a huge pretense; a mock show that we put in front of people, so that people would pat us on the back, and not talk badly about us. Or is it the spouses, who wake up every morning and wipe the tears from their eyes, smiling to the world, telling everybody that everything is all right? Or is it ourselves, do we blame ourselves for not having the strength to show others who we truly are in case we are afraid of ridicule?

The masks that people wear are real. The existence of these masks can be seen in the fake laugh that explodes from a person who tries to look good in front of his superior. It’s in the girl who goes out of her way to look thin just because that’s how society will accept her, even when she knows she’d rather be devouring that haagen-dazs ice cream every night. It’s in the husband and wife who scream at each other every night but when they appear in front of others, they act all sweet to each other. It’s in the hundreds of people who when their hearts are breaking and they’re asked, “How are you?” They answer,” Fine.” As if there’s a new universal definition for fine that says, ‘a state of total misery…’

Richard Bach says, “The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid. We fear we will not find love, and when we find it we fear we’ll lose it. We fear that if we do not have love we will be unhappy.”

So when you wake up tomorrow morning, ask yourself, are you going to meet the world wearing the mask of a person you’re not?

If you are now telling yourself that you’re not wearing a mask right now, ask yourself this question, could it be that maybe, the mask is so stuck to who you think you are that you don’t even know it’s even there?

that’s something to think about and leave your comments below.

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29 thoughts on “The Masks People Wear

    Shireen said:
    June 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I have lived many years of life pretending or rather subconsciouly thinking that portraying myself as somebody else would make me happy, it is only for the past few months that i have been able to really accept that whatever i was doing during that time didn’t really make me happy. I thought it would but it didn’t it just left an empty void.

    So, to answer your question, the mask was there for a long period as i believed this how everyone expects me to be, so i was what my family wanted to be when i was with them and when i was left on my own i was a different person [nothing special about being that too because it didn't bring any peace]

    Finally, now i am free from the mask. Sometimes, rarely i just put a mask mostly subconsciously out of habit to please somebody.

    On a side note, I believe that it is the surroundings that you grow up with also plays an important role in determining what side of your personality you would like them to see and which side you’d rather have hidden from everyone

    P.s. this is an intense entry.

    Nasrin said:
    June 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Very deep post…its got me thinking a lot…thumbs up :)

    Nadia M. Saleem said:
    June 6, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Funny you mention a friend doing something that shocks you and makes you wonder about who they are.
    That recently happened to me and it made me realise that we all have two sides, at least. the good side and the not too good side. It just depends on who we chose to be with every person that we come across. Some we like to show that we are all good, while others we dont care as much about so don’t bother to be careful of which mask to done.
    We should always keep in mind that every person is to some degree capable of switching masks, and hope not to be on the receiving end of the dark face.

    Great post. Thanks.

    Khadra said:
    June 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    i could say lack of self confidence but yet again we humans have this urge for everyone to like us, be in the cricle of the society, trying our best not to be outcast, always pleasing pleasing the “other” in the expenses of what i believe which in turn becomes routine in life and then i cannot differeniate the real me from the Mask me.

    i believe the masks we wear is the fear of showing the real us cause we just dont believe in ourselves, we just simply hate the real us as it doesnt serve everyone, if only they knew the real us is the only one that will succeed us in life and relieve the invisible pain we feel.
    I read somewhere that ” we all born unique, dont die as a copy”
    I always have this in mind, whatever i do i first believe in it deeply, i have the power of choice whether i agree with it or not this is my power of choice.

    Very interesting topic thanks for bringing it up.

    omhajar said:
    June 7, 2011 at 12:06 am

    very sensitive topic..and very relative as well..
    sumtimes you just have to hide certain weaknesses or faults becuz you know that showing it won’t help you overcome them nor will make you feel any better, it’ll only make you more vulnerable and needy without getting enough support in return from ppl… who happen to be just as helpless as you are sometimes….. so i dont really see the mask concept applies on this case..sometimes its merely losing hope in people’s power and putting all faith in Allah’s power …however, not admitting to those weaknesses n faults is the unwanted attitude.. life gets so busy that we fail to have a sit down with our true selves and workk on our unresolved matters… Allah yer7amna bi ra7meto..
    very nice post jazaki Allahu khayran AH !

      Qassim said:
      June 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      I couldn’t put in better words than what’s written above. Exactly what I had in mind.

    retireewannabe said:
    June 7, 2011 at 4:41 am

    sometimes putting off masks is only possible in a society that accepts people for who they are and doesn’t impose any codes of conduct on them. Where this is not possible, showing your real face can have very bad consequences, because after all, people only see your through their own distorted lenses. Even if you have a beautiful face, they will not accept if it’s so different than the masks they are expecting to see.

    AH responded:
    June 7, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Thanks all for commenting

    yara610 said:
    June 7, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I think this is very true. If we deny and say no we don’t wear one then we are lying to ourselves. Yes i do wear a mask…but not in the sense that i am fake! We have in mind that those with masks are two faced. No its not. I believe everyone has one on…its a part of us…i would never believe that anyone is free of it. Its one of those life requirements whereas if i didn’t have one, people will start judging me on my emotional/ current status and not on who i really am. I will not go show everyone that i am extremely happy, nor sad; or for example say what I really think of others in their face. And at the end its a way to adapt with our reality and society. Its a way to make everything seem okay even if its not. Its a way for us to look stronger. Finally, sharing what is beneath this mask is different from a person to another, depending on his/her openness and spontaneity

    rasha said:
    June 7, 2011 at 8:59 am

    mmmm…interesting

    Mohamed AlHamahmy said:
    June 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Everybody wears a mask-that much you mentioned. It’s not just for other people, it’s for you as well.
    Facing yourself, accepting who you are, is a big, big achievement that most people never succeed at.

    Know yourself. That includes all the disgusting, shameful secrets and the horrible decisions you would willingly make. You can’t take off the mask if you don’t know what you look like without it.
    Incidentally, I’m not sure taking off your mask is a good idea at all.

    Aisha said:
    June 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    who to blame? that is a good question… i just think that society includes our parents, friends, etc… and society plays a huge role in how it ‘makes’ people wear these masks. the other interesting thought that this note brought up is how we get so accustomed to our own masks that we sometimes forget that they are even there and start to believe they are part of who we are, or maybe they do eventually become part of who we are …

    ilham said:
    June 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Totally agree! Everyone wears a mask…some are thicker than the others..and I totally agree that we wear masks against ourselves…because we fail to accept who we are sometimes..we day-dream, we don’t live in the “moment” and that is for me, some sort of wearing a mask…

    Anyways, yes, I do wear a mask…maybe many…I don’t know. What I am trying to work on now, is to not wear any when I am confronting my own self..and you can’t imagine the peace of mind that you get once you get there…but that doesn’t last…it depends on the situation and how strong I am to accept the reality..that I have done a mistake/hurt someone/lied…etc and that I am not the perfect one I wanted myself to be.

    I have also learnt that one should NEVER expect others to be perfect..especially family and friends. I had occasions where I lost friends because they “disappointed” me and that affected how I treated them as friends because I couldn’t believe that I was friends with them at some point..That WAS BAD.

    But then my discussion with you AH makes me think, is it really a good idea to drop off all the masks? I think maybe when it comes to oneself..maybe.

    rhillawi said:
    June 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Something I think about quite a bit. I think society is a combination of many people of different relations to the person and those around him/her be it friends, parents, other family members, or media itself in all it’s forms. It’s not easy fitting into society these days as every party is expecting something different from each of us. However, what is even harder to do is to be true t yourself.

    As much as I agree with idea of SO many wearing a slew of masks left, right, and centre. I can also see how these masks can easily become obsessive. As humans, we are naturally comfortable with company. To have this company, we need to fit in. Hence, the masks. However, the stronger person is the one who remains real and true to him/herself despite outside expectations. Throw out those masks and you’ll be surprised of the like-minded people you will attract. It may take a lot of time… but like-minded people do exist. They might be few, but I’d much prefer to have few genuine people around me than 100′s that are not. I can personally tell you that it’s taken a lot of time! But, I am not one to change to please anyone; and I have no regrets. The one time I got sucked into doing that… I got in trouble! (and had to really ask myself “what were you thinking?!?!”)

    This does not mean to say that those who have friends who wear those “masks” wear one themselves. But those “masks” do come off and to recognize and only those who genuinely recognize them (in turn, rethink their relationship with the given person) is on the right path of not wearing an altered identity themselves.

    [...] to comment on the comments of The Mask People Wear, first we need to distinguish between the term ‘wearing masks’ and having privacy . We [...]

    Lady Aireen said:
    June 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    …and how would you know, when your truth is blinded with what you think? when your think can not comprehend the truth anymore? How would you sense the mask when it morphed completely into who you are now?

    Could it be the answer is lost? Does it mean we are too?

    Lady Aireen

    Overview of June’s posts « A Heart's Echoes said:
    June 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

    [...] we discussed a bit on The Masks People Wear, and that brought on a lot of comments from readers who connected with that post, leading to a [...]

    Marti Parham said:
    October 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for following Marti Ink! Will you be participating in NaNo?

    Roger Passman said:
    November 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Yes, exactly. Masks are necessary to protect the self from the other, from the stranger next door and sometimes from within. Masks also help us identify with a group, a tribal membership if you will. They help us toss off any sense of individuality we might develop. They define for us the rules we follow without having to think about the ethical consequences of those rules.

    #Bestof2012 Ahechoes Posts | A Heart's Echoes said:
    December 26, 2012 at 9:52 am

    [...] 1) The Masks People Wear. [...]

    daily life impressions said:
    February 1, 2013 at 7:38 am

    only if we accept and be happy and content with ourselves, we can learn to peel off the masks we wear bit by bit and be what we really are…ourselves…..

      AH responded:
      February 1, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Ths true to some extent. Sometimes society does not appreciate the true you and that plays the main role in having the mass in the first place

    trnwrtr said:
    April 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Have you read the book (rather old now, but so am I) “Games People Play” by Dr. Eric Berne? He describes the “masks” we all put on in terms of relationships and the games we “play” to interact within them. I think he gets at exactly what this post is about from a slightly different direction. (Great post, btw) His work greatly influenced Redfield’s “Celestine Prophesy”. Thanks for writing this. I had not thought about those two books in a while.

      AH responded:
      April 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks for the comments and the recommendations. I’ll check them out (I hope there’s a kindle edition for them!) Thanks for dropping by and feel free to read my other posts

    sheenakh said:
    May 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    A good post! and most of the comments show that we are quite honest while we write about our feelings and thoughts but if we encounter a similar situation in person we will not hesitate to put a mask. Its difficult because we as human judge each other too quickly. Masks or no masks, no matter how much we suppress our true self, one day it shows ( speaking from personal experience) .Those repressed personality traits are revealed regardless of what face we wanted to put in front of others. Masks help sometimes but its painful when it breaks and we are all vulnerable, our weakness and faults open for all to see.

    Jea'nn Ser Illyvien said:
    June 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Ah ! so true my mom and dad fight everyone night but when…next day they’ll go sweetie lovey again,

    Oh well.. . I’m wearing a mask. . .I guess. . . .especially . . when im outside
    can’t help it. . .the society. . .

    harmonioustew said:
    November 1, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    you may be interested in the japanese concepts of “tatemae” and “honne,” which have to do with the face we show the world vs. the feelings we hide inside. thanks also for liking my blog piece.

    Heather said:
    November 7, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Your entire blog post, “The Masks People Wear | A Heart’s Echoes” was definitely worth commenting down here in the comment section! Only desired to mention u did a very good job. Thank you ,Madison

    The Masks People Wear…Again | A Heart's Echoes said:
    November 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    […] imagine a collective groan from you, Oh no, there she goes again since I’ve written about it here and here ), but […]

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