Every so often I meet someone that makes me pause and think; makes me want to be someone they could like and relate to. It doesn’t matter whether I like them myself, it always matters more that they should like me, and see me in the best possible light. This often leads to inner struggles and anxieties like ‘Should I have said that? Will they think less of me now? I was a little too candid perhaps, and now they’re going to think I am heartless and overexerting… Should I have defended less and agreed more with them?’ I had always been under the illusion that I was self-satisfied and never did anything to seek the approval of others. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.
Recently though, realization struck and epiphanies were had as I became aware of my feelings. As I was talking to someone I had recently met for the first time, I found myself agreeing to their points of view even though I know I felt otherwise. We talked about experiences and people and I was of the opinion that it is always quality over quantity that matters. They said it was not the case, and that quantity means greater access to quality (which I still dispute), but I silently fought within and expressed agreement with them at the end of their monologue.
How many times have we all done this? Why? Is it to keep the peace? To keep a perfectly amicable conversation going in the same flow, rather than upsetting it? To show that we are intelligent enough to hold our own and accept other points of view? Or is it to seek and find the approval of someone by agreeing to their every thought and opinion? What purpose does that serve? We begin to stop being true to ourselves and keep wearing masks to conform to people’s views. When do we exhaust our masks? When do we finally say ‘Enough! This is really me’, while stripping off every costume -elaborate or subtle – to show and share who it is you really are?
Or are the masks we wear so well-sculpted and glued on to us that it becomes difficult to separate reality from illusion?