We encounter people every day who wear a mask. The disguise is not the kind worn to costume parties. Instead, it’s the persona they show the world to cover up their true identity. We may not even realize there’s someone else hiding under the surface unless they choose to reveal themselves to us.
Today, I ask you to consider how well people know the real you.
A Lifetime of Hiding
A lone bugler in the back of the room played Taps. The finality of life weighed heavy in the hearts of those gathered to say goodbye. As we stood facing the flag-draped casket, my mind couldn’t shake what a relative said moments earlier, “I thought I knew him, but I didn’t really know him.”
The two were well-acquainted for sixty plus years. They lived in the same community, encountered one another often, and spent time together at family gatherings. Yet, she didn’t know the real man because he never revealed himself to her or most anyone else.
My cousin went on to share it was only in recent months, as our relative’s health declined, that the two grew closer and she was able to understand him on a deeper level.
People only see what we choose to reveal to them.
Some hide behind a façade attempting to present a person they think others want to see. Others portray a gruff exterior to conceal their feelings. Whether it’s done to protect a fragile heart or avoid criticism, one thing is certain: it holds them back.
This guise is often developed from past wounds. Some feel the need to conceal their authentic self because they were criticized or ridiculed for doing nothing more than being themselves. Perhaps they stood out from others in the family when all they wanted was to fit in. So, they failed to express their true nature.
Reveal the Real You
Conformity’s pull is powerful, but there’s something we need to remember.
We can’t live fully by hiding.
Until we drop the charade and embrace who we are at our core, we settle for a life experience far less amazing than we’re capable of achieving.
A lifetime of hiding robs us of precious time, joy, and simple pleasures. As my cousin recognized, it deprives our family of rich love and connection. And sadly, it cheats the world of our best offering.
We miss out and those in our lives and community miss out. It’s our individuality that makes this world and our experience in it so incredible.
So, I ask you again, how well do people know the real you?
If on some level you’re hiding, I encourage you to remove whatever veil shrouds your you-ness. Risk being vulnerable. Show us your true nature, because that’s where the good stuff is.