The masks we wear!

Halloween is about pretending.  We pretend to be somebody ~ or something ~ else and have fun doing so.  It is an acceptable and fun part of the celebration tradition.  We wear costumes and masks, all the while laughing and enjoying each others' company.  I wondered recently how the tradition of costumes and masks originated and depending on where you look, you will find a variety of details.  However, the overall reason remains the same...we wear masks to hide.  As in the case of Halloween, we hide to placate evil spirits or to avoid them altogether.  We wear masks out of fear of being harmed.

When we think about it, it is the same in our relationships.  When we first meet someone, we tend to wear our biggest mask.  We put our best foot forward to show our "good" side.  Since none of us is perfect, we all know and accept this.  After all, every encounter is a chance to love and be loved by another person.  Whether it is a romantic relationship or a strong friendship, we need to connect, and the only way to real connection is to remove our masks.  The hope is over time, as we allow ourselves to grow into a deeper, more intimate relationship, the mask will eventually dissolve.  We want to say "I trust you!"  Therein lies the responsibility of each person to respect that interaction for people are fragile and should be handled with care.

What about the times we are unable to remove our masks?  Or times when we begin to take off our mask only to find ourselves putting it back on even tighter?  Why does this occur?  One reason may be that others have proven untrustworthy.  In that case, remaining at a distance would be most appropriate as this is a matter of personal safety, whether it be physical or emotional.  But for some, depression, anxiety, and mental illness keep the mask firmly in place.  Somewhere deep down those that suffer embrace a belief that says "I can trust no one, after all, when I am too real you will not be real back and give me the safety I so longingly desire.  Instead, you will leave me alone with my demons" ...and so the mask remains.

Happy Halloween!!

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