The Friendly Face Mask

The Friendly Face Mask

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“People cry not because they’re weak but because they’ve been strong for too long.”    Anonymous

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”    Khalil Gibran

“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” Daniel Coleman

“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.”    Sigmund Freund

“A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain.”    Daniel Coleman

I don’t know about everyone else but I have many masks that I apply throughout the day. I am not being deceitful  to others only to myself. This is what I have  a problem with. I treat others respectfully or at least I try to but I bully myself a lot. What I say and do is reflected upon many times and then scrutinized for honesty.

I hide behind the mask for many reasons which all have to do with the feelings of others. I was surprised after thinking this over. I refrain from bragging too much about anything good that happens so that I don’t make others jealous. I hide my hurts because I don’t want to admit how awful someone made me feel and how vulnerable I am which makes me feel weak. That is probably the reason for most of my hidden faces. Others hurt quite a bit. I know they don’t mean to most of the time at least I hope that is the case. But the unkindness jars my senses and the mask goes on.When sad I refuse to show any feelings because I have so much to be thankful for that I would appear ungrateful for what I have. The power of others to promote my inner turmoil is astounding.  Most of the time or all of the time it surely escapes their notice. Perhaps there are many people in similar situations that protect their feelings from the general public as well as the family. They may  be the ones who appear to exhibit the strength yet if the truth be known they are in pieces on the inside.

I haven’t figured it all out but most if not all of us suffer emotional pangs. I surmise that maybe the smart thing to do would be to explain the truth to others so that they might be kinder and more respectful. I don’t see that as a solution. I look at it that if they were mean enough in the first place to cause the ache then they are not losing sleep over any stress any of us are experiencing.

There are those people who pry too deeply into anther’s thoughts so in those cases the mask can be protective. There are also those people who listen to a little of your story and then run amok in another direction with their own tales of woe. It makes you feel worse. Of course we always have the ones who start with the advice which is kind and generous only they don’t stop. Two hours later they are still making suggestions while you have already forgotten what you said to them.

Most likely the masks we all display should be removed. Maybe if we saw each other in reality we would treat each other in a kinder manner. It might be worth the effort. The idea of supporting each other sounds great. Even the idea of not having to be pleasant on the outside while paining on the inside sounds like relief. Perhaps our outer skins are different.  Some of us may not feel the barbs as much as others.

Whatever the case it might be important to at least be aware of the damage we unconsciously do to others. What we perceive as a simple remark can be devastating to another, especially if they are at a weak moment in time. The tone, look, harshness and loudness of our voices makes a difference in the depth of the cut. If we worked on that rather than on our special masks we might be better off. Of course there may be some people who enjoy the power over others and are brutal on purpose.

I think the worst might be the super friendly face that hides a world of dislike or even hate behind it. Those people are poisonous to our health and we never see them coming. I would rather someone keep their distance from me instead of pretending to be of a friendly nature to me. All of us at some time or other has likely experienced a mishap with such a person. You feel worse because it is unexpected. You might believe you know someone only to find out they cheated or lied to you. These of course can also be those  who are closest to us. They have obviously played their identity well seeing as how we don’t see it coming.

It appears that facing some honesty regarding our emotions may be more in need than we think. So what if we are having a mixed up day and feel like we are going backwards. By being allowed to feel freely we might gain some sympathy which builds us up. I would suggest we never over due it or abuse it. We might attempt to be quick to repay the kindness even if we are paying it forward.

Being aware of the days we can boost ourselves up is important. We don’t want to be so self-absorbed that we forget worries of others. We are all human and take situations in various ways. It is a paradox to want a world with sensitive people but which also contains people who insensitivity strike out and crush others. Living side by side is difficult.

I believe it helps to also immediately review our blessings. Without a doubt you begin to smile and then wonder why you got so low. That doesn’t mean I’m suggesting you lash out at someone and yell, “you have so much to be thankful for why are you complaining?” Of course we may not understand their mood but we can appreciate and respect their hurt. What bothers me hardly offends you and vice verse.

Keeping communication  gentle when speaking to others especially children, and refraining from harshness in words and actions will promote a friendlier atmosphere for all of us to live in and breathe in. Just think, we might be able to toss our masks away once and for all. If we came to realize the impact we deliver to each other we might mend some of our ways. The majority of us doesn’t want to add to anyone’s burdens. For those of us who believe we travel through the world without stepping on anyone’s feelings, we would be sorrowfully surprised. As I mentioned before we all wear masks which do a good job of hiding hurts.

“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”     Anthony St. Maarten


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