No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself,
and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Why do we sometimes choose to wear masks?
After all, being someone other than who we really are can be quite difficult,
misleading, and at times even confusing.
The most likely culprit is fear
-fear of getting hurt or laughed at, fear of being excluded or not fitting in, fear of being exposed or analyzed, fear of being known or social anxiety, or any other layer of fear that we wish to cover up and hide.
Unfortunately, by doing so, we confuse others and ourselves, and even worse, diminish our potential in life.
The question of who am I to myself as compared to who am I to others is an important one to consider,
for this is the measure of my authenticity.
If I see myself one way, but act in another, no longer is there a line that defines my morals and beliefs, thereby my integrity falters and my character starts to diminish.
In addition, acting contrary to my inner-self grinds away the peace in my heart creating anger, stress, unhappiness, strife, and many other unhealthy feelings and emotions.
It is important to note, however, that authenticity is not equivalent to transparency –
being genuine does not require me to expose all of my raw thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires, and so forth to the whole of the world, at every given opportunity.
It simply means that I wear the same face, and communicate from the heart, regardless of the situation or people with whom I am speaking.
The most valuable gift we have to offer to this world is ourselves.
So ask yourself, “Who am I?
Am I the person who helps someone in need, the person who listens to a child who is hurt, the person who laughs with friends and family, the person who talks tenderly to their spouse and children… or the person who is frustrated in traffic, the person who yells at their spouse and children?”
If we are going to be true, we must be true to ourselves first, and then to others in our lives.
And in order for us to do this there must be congruence between the face we put on for ourselves and the face we put on for others.