“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison
I met a friend recently.
She left a text saying that she really wanted to talk.
We got to talking and soon she told me about how she is not really happy with the way, her life is going.
She is not liking it and she doesn’t feel the ownership of her life.
If it was me probably 3 months back, I would’ve judged and told her a rant of how people are like this and that.
But no, I don’t do that any longer. At least, I try not to.
So, I just listened.
And, I could get what she said. I could connect.
Because, I remember facing the same. And, there was a common problem over here.
Living with Masks.
Living in Indian Society, or for that matter any society, is tough.
You’ve countless opinions, suggestions, views bombarded on you, almost every minute.
Countless theories on what works and what doesn’t. On what is right and what is wrong.
I remember being told so many things at so many times by so many people.
It is tremendously overwhelming.
What I did and sometimes, to a fault, still do.
Wear a mask.
Feeling sad but don’t want to show? There’s a happy-go-lucky mask for that.
People tell that strong people don’t cry? There’s a Strong faced mask for that.
People don’t like something about me? There’s a pretension mask for that.
Look inside you. There are masks all over the place. Thousands of them, countless of them.
For each time, we got scared.
For each time, we were afraid.
For each time, we feared what people would say.
For each time, we wanted to follow the unconventional path.
For each and every time to replace a genuine emotion.
We took some mask, wore it and hide the real us.
I have been doing it since the longest time.
It’s easy and it helps us to hide amongst the crowd of thousands other people who wear masks everyday and go on with their life.
And the effect is that mask gets embedded so deeply within, you start taking it as your own self. The real you.
But that’s not the real you. It’s not. Your mind knows it, your soul knows it and somewhere deep down you do too.
So the important question comes out: how long and far can you pretend?
You can probably wear the mask in front of me and fool me. Probably fool your family, friends. Even probably fool the entire society.
Can you fool yourself?
I urge you to live without the mask.
Yes, it is a more vulnerable way of living. Yes, it is scary at first. Yes, it is stepping into unknown. And yes, chances are people will get uncomfortable because genuine emotions generally rattle those who wear masks.
But, you know what? It will be OK.
Be your real self.
If you’re sad, you’re sad. Acknowledging it will probably help you identify the root cause and work on it.
If you’re happy, you’re happy. Acknowledge it. Ravel in the joy. Amplify it and share it.
If you don’t like something, tell it. Be honest. Be genuine. Yes, don’t condescend or judge or look down or insult. But be honest. You don’t need to lie to yourself and the other person.
It is OK to have a different opinion. It is OK to have different personality. And it is OK to do something which certain section of people don’t approve.
Unless you’re not harming the interest of other people, you’re good to go.
You don’t need people’s approval for everything. You don’t.They might talk. Let them. They’ll anyway.
Who are you living for? Be genuine to your core. To your being.
It is OK to be miserable sometimes.
It is OK to not agree with most people agree with.
It is OK to not follow what majority feels should be followed.
Don’t put a mask. Don’t hide your real self. You’re beautiful, why would you do such a thing? Yes, probably you’re flawed. And probably, you’ve done mistakes.
But who hasn’t?
We’ll are flawed. We’ll are imperfect. That’s how you identify a human.
Be your real self. And wear that.
Keep learning. Admit your failings. Take a stand. Apologize if it is a wrong stand. Make mistakes. Grow out of your comfort zone. Accept your flaws. Be kind. Be compassionate. Don’t judge. Elevate people. Help people. Love people. Take the course you always wanted do. Quit the job if you hate it. Take that vacation. Write that book. Paint that masterpiece.Tell someone what you always wanted to. Be genuine. Be real. Be confident. Be love.
Let the individual that you’re shine. And shine gloriously.
Live without the mask.
Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it is a bit tough.
But it is worth it.
Continuing the story.
We talked a lot that day. And, it seemed that she genuinely wants to be her real self. To grow out of the masks. To come out of what would people say syndrome.
And, we made a rough sketch for her. A timeline, a sort of plan. Something through which she can shed the masks.
And, I learnt a lot too.
Probably, I still have scope of being more genuine and more real.
I’ll keep working on it.
And for you, next time when someone asks you that how are you or how have you been.
Answer it more genuinely than a fine.
Tell them, how you really are feeling.
Get fucking out of the standard mask templates of “I am doing fine”
Go now. Be awesome.
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