“When we become vulnerable we become more attractive to people.” I heard that comment recently at a retreat I was a part of. And when I heard it I knew intuitively that it was true.
A bit scary. But true.
One thing I’ve learned in my years of ministry is that everyone wears a mask. Not just some people. But everyone.
Now some have learned to take off their masks. But everyone has at some point worn a mask.
The Greeks had a word for actors on the stage who wore masks. Back in their day actors would step out onto a stage in an amphitheater. There was no sound system, just good acoustics. And there was no big screen to either side of the stage so cameras could project the facial expressions of the actors for all to see.
Instead they wore masks. That’s why the logo for drama or theater is that of a smiling mask and a sad mask. The actor would have this mask to put a face forward to the audience to help them understand what was happening in the play. The word they used for this was “hypocrite.”
We don’t wear those masks. But we wear our own to hide who we really are. And we are pretty good at it. In my times of counseling with people I get to see them when they take their masks off. And you know what? Invariably I am more attracted to them afterwards than before. Attracted in the sense of drawn to them as a human being.
- I’ve seen talented people who were hiding low self-esteem.
- I’ve seen great leaders who were hiding their lack of confidence.
- I’ve seen beautiful people who inside felt they weren’t pretty enough.
- I’ve seen straight A students who didn’t think they were smart enough.
And not once did I want to throw them out of my office. Instead, I felt like I could actually relate to them better.
Why? Because once they let down their guard I was able to get to know them. I was able to relate to them because I’m learning to take off my masks too.
Are you tired of wearing your mask? Then try this. Sit down with someone you trust and share with them something that you haven’t shared before. Something that lets them know who you are. You’ll have to trust that they will accept you as you are and know that you are a person “in process.”
Stop performing. Start being. And see if you don’t pick up a few more friends in your journey through life.