In my humble opinion, accepting who we are and being comfortable in that skin is self-actualization. We live in a world in which perception is mistaken as reality. You find people that are always trying to “one up” you. Many people perpetrate wealth with material possessions, put on a multitude of facades, and some just blatantly lie to your face. All pretending to be someone else, anyone else, just not themselves to “fit into” society.
Our society – One that encompasses peer pressures that overwhelms some of our youth to the point of no return, one in which every day, we are surrounded by the “one uppers,” overly confident yet insecure people, and one that seems unsafe. It forces me to take a deeper look at myself. Let me be clear and put it out here that I am not trying to psychoanalyze anything because I cannot, I am just voicing my opinion.
We all wear masks for a number of reasons and sometimes when our masks are exposed, we become ashamed, tormented, bullied, and teased by what lies beneath – our uncomfortable insecurities. I am reminded of two quotes on self-acceptance by two people who lived very different lives; one a white American author and the other a former slave and civil rights activist.
“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” – ― Mark Twain
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – ― Frederick Douglass
Although sometimes difficult, being comfortable and true to yourself empowers you. There are some who have asked me, maliciously, why I would put personal information about myself on the Internet. My response is “Why not? Is it really that personal?” I realize that the actual analysis behind their judgements, snares, and ridicule isn’t about me, it’s about themselves and their masks. Life’s experiences forces us to journey back and forth through Maslow’s original hierarchy of needs making it extremely difficult to ever reach self-actualization/self-fulfillment. Sometimes those journeys signify shame and we are forced to wear masks.
When you are not true to yourself, as Frederick Douglass states, “you incur your own abhorrence” or self-hatred. You allow situations to exist that continue to bury your worth to the point that you exhibit behaviors that make you not respect yourself. Yet, you justify your acceptance of those behaviors to others. Your self-esteem is so deeply buried that you accept someone else’s criticism of you as truth when their objective is to bring you down to their level of insecurity. You stay in relationships when someone breaks your spirit one, two, three, and keep going, times. When you are not true to yourself, you are on the outside of a box that you will never fit into, that you did not know existed until someone pointed it out to you. Basically you are lost.
It takes courage to take off your mask. Instead of judging others, slowly unveil your masks. We are all works in progress searching for self-fulfillment. During this holiday season, it can be very lonely. However as Mark Twain says “the worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” I accept that at my age, the companionship that I seek may be difficult, but it doesn’t mean I give up or accept anything for the sake of companionship. I accept that I have many imperfections but I don’t stay in them, instead I try to progress. I accept and embrace happiness in being single. I also accept that I have the most amazing family and friends.
Let’s focus on and accept the positives in our lives. Let us also work on taking off our masks and revealing our beautiful truths. Remember – If you OWN it, people will accept it.