I remember growing up thinking I was the only one living with a mask on. Most of my days were acted in a way I could fit in the world around me. Standing out was not an option for me.
After all, the shock I got from being bullied as a 4–5 year’s old who couldn’t run at all due to a disease in my legs already made me stand out too much. I actually had to learn to run to be able to fit in. And still, I spent most of my middle school being part of the girls’ team in sports because I couldn’t run fast enough to join “the guys”.
The impact was certainly too strong and as a result, transferred to my entire personality. I didn’t want to stand out anymore. I just wanted to be seen as an average joe. Things I didn’t enjoy much but people around me liked became things I liked too. Whenever I had different opinions, I would keep them to myself, trying to fit in.
As the years passed by though, some aspects of my personality grew too big to be left hidden anymore. I spent years as a geek who loved video games “way too much”, started spending a whole lot of time learning languages which were not “popular” around me, and grew as a person by confronting others opinions more and more.
But there was something which shocked me the most.
The world didn’t crumble
When I would show my true self, not everybody would like it, but nothing awful really happened either.
Why was I hiding my true self if nobody really cared that much?
I cannot remember exactly when I first had this realization, but I do remember clearly thinking “Fuck it. I’m tired of this.” and starting willingly letting my personality flow outwards.
Little by little, this got me to experience great things in my life and evolve as a person, not only in society but also internally.
Hiding our true self feels like an automatic response from our brain but there are already so many times our brain has gotten something wrong! Why would this reaction have to be correct?
It just doesn’t.
You are not supposed to be someone else
It is for this simple reason that we need to strive to show who we are.
While you can imitate what you see around the world, there is only one single thing at which you can be the best at and nobody can ever surpass you: being yourself.
Your life is yours. Your ideas are yours. Your experiences are yours. Your worries, your wonders, your objectives, and your actions are yours and yours only.
While the outside world does impact you in certain ways, the combination of everything you have lived and thought will never be found in anybody else’s life.
Yes, it can be scary to show who you are. Yes, there are risks of getting hurt. Obviously yes, there are times you will feel bad.
But it also goes the other way around. And more often than not, you will live more joyful times, learn more and become an even better version of yourself than you already are.
Being yourself also allows you to find true friends and partner who accept your true self. This can thus create a never-ending virtuous circle for your life.
Hurtful time won’t be that bad
Well, let’s be honest though. Life isn’t all flowers. There will, without fault, be tough times ahead.
But when you think of those, you need to realize that not only they could, and probably would, be present even when hiding your true self, they also will be harder to handle if you keep your mask on.
At least, by getting rid of your mask, you have so much more pleasant experiences, you can become so positive and feel so good within yourself that such horrible times will just be met by a simple temporary disappointment or sadness.
Soon enough, everything you will have built upon by having destroyed your mask will come rushing to support you.
Your true self is so much better than the fake one. Yes, it’s simpler to hide. Yes, the change is complicated.
I won’t deny I had difficulties getting rid of my own mask. After years and years keeping it on most of my time, it had become a habit just like any other. Situations would simply be triggers for it to appear instantly.
I did not realize it back then. My life, after all, seemed all fine thanks to that mask!
How wrong I was back then, thinking such a delusional thing. Sure, I had a good life, good friends, good studies and so on. But it wasn’t even half of what I was. I could have been so much better so much sooner.
I regret keeping my mask for so long. Partly. After all, the person I am today is who I became through almost 30 years of life. The mask was part of it for a long time and influenced me. For better and for worse.
But without fault, if you realize you’re hiding behind a mask now, you’ve certainly had it long enough and it’s time to show your true self.
Nice to meet the real You!