• Dr Ashutosh Srivastava

Face behind the Mask

What do we see when we look hard at the people around us? Is what we perceive all there is or is there more than meets eye? If we look deeply enough, will we discover something else that lies hidden beneath the surface? There are people who laugh and smile all the time. And there are those who are constantly angry. Still others appear to be strong or project an image of perfection. Do we routinely accept what we see in people as the truth?

Perhaps what we notice in people is not necessarily what they feel. There are those who smile and laugh only because they do not wish others to see the sadness within them. And there are others who are constantly angry perhaps to hide the fear that they feel. Some project the image of strength because they do not wish their weaknesses to be seen. Still others appear to be friendly, but the truth is they would rather be alone. And there are people who strive for perfection in all that they do only because they do not wish others to see their many flaws.

Wearing these masks is understandable because our experiences have conditioned us that showing our weaknesses often leads to becoming victims of discrimination. Furthermore, we have been taught repeatedly that society values strength.

Thus, the way we carry ourselves in front of others is almost always an act. But the more we pretend to be what we are not, the more distressing it becomes. What is the real reason why we hesitate to reveal our true selves? Is it because we fear the harsh judgment of those around us? Are we afraid of rejection? Do we believe people will treat us differently if they discover who we truly are and what we really feel? And what if this apprehension resides only in our mind?

We need to realize the necessity of being true to ourselves. We must acknowledge our limitations and admit that we are not invincible. Is it not a fact that the more honest we are about ourselves, the more authentic we appear to others? We have to concede that we are prone to sadness and fear, because it is only by accepting our frailties are we able to understand what it truly means to be human. Therefore, we must overcome our fear of how others will regard us and in so doing we will be able to finally do away with the masks we wear.

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