The Masks We Wear

We all wear masks at times that do not accurately reflect what we think or feel. We’ve been socialized from a very young age to do so. We are taught that it is inexcusably rude to make another person uncomfortable, so we say and express emotions that help us to blend in rather than stand out. Look, when you live in a complex society like ours, I understand we all need to make compromises and concessions in order to keep the peace. But I have to wonder if all this superficiality is too high a price for many folks to pay. For example, those who suffer from depression often suffer in silence, never telling anyone how they truly feel. And by doing so, their lives become a lie and all too often end early.  So if you don’t want this norm to continue, when you ask someone how they’re doing, really mean it. Mean what you say, and then give them your full attention when they answer. Show them the respect of direct eye contact. Emote with sincerity. People want their truth to be seen and acknowledged. They want to feel they matter to someone.  It only takes a few moments of attention from you to change someone else’s view of themselves. Let’s consciously make an effort to promote empathy, kindness, and active listening. It can save a life.

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