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A strange paradox is here. Most people find it more comfortable to talk on the computer. I find it more difficult. It feels like throwing myself into a stormy ocean with the unpredictable waves. Well I am posting this to ask, "How many people feels like they wear a mask?" At least that's the way for me at school and home.

As a child, I watched to old cartoons and anime seeing the heroes so full of confidence, I've felt that I must become the hero, but really I'm shy and not confident. Besides just dreaming about being confident, I am often forced to act confident. My family believes me to be confident for my curious actions as a kid. It was never the fact that I was confident, just too full of wonder to stop myself. My friends expect me to help them with their problems, and I do. It's just that there are times when we don't talk, and I'm comfortable like that, I just wonder how they feel. So I place a mask of sorts. One that I never take off. A mask of confidence. When I ask other's if I'm shy, they often say no, because I've learned to hide that fact by replacing it with fake ego.

*Thinks to self* Why in the world am I posting this?
 

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Back in high school, I spent all my time pretending to be an extrovert. I faked it till I made it, literally. It was hard, it was draining, it didn't feel right, it got me a bunch of "friends" that forgot about me as soon as I dropped the extrovert mask, so my mask wasn't very useful. I guess I wanted to see what it was really like, to be a social butterfly.

People who knew me back then are still surprised to this day, to find out I'm actually quiet and an introvert. They know me as the person who dared everything, who was a rebel, who was a little wild - and don't know how shy or withdrawn I really am.

Another mask of mine is somehow a mask of self deprecating humor. I used to be teased and made fun of when I was a kid for being chubby. It hurt me every time, but the way they'd react to my reaction, like "Oh c'mon, don't be so sensitive, we're kidding", made me feel like it was ME who was wrong. I soon learned how to laugh whenever I was teased about things like that, which to this day I still don't know how I feel about, even though the whole teasing had stopped. It definitely helped me take things in a lighter way, and not take everything personally though.
 

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A strange paradox is here. Most people find it more comfortable to talk on the computer. I find it more difficult. It feels like throwing myself into a stormy ocean with the unpredictable waves. Well I am posting this to ask, "How many people feels like they wear a mask?" At least that's the way for me at school and home.

As a child, I watched to old cartoons and anime seeing the heroes so full of confidence, I've felt that I must become the hero, but really I'm shy and not confident. Besides just dreaming about being confident, I am often forced to act confident. My family believes me to be confident for my curious actions as a kid. It was never the fact that I was confident, just too full of wonder to stop myself. My friends expect me to help them with their problems, and I do. It's just that there are times when we don't talk, and I'm comfortable like that, I just wonder how they feel. So I place a mask of sorts. One that I never take off. A mask of confidence. When I ask other's if I'm shy, they often say no, because I've learned to hide that fact by replacing it with fake ego.

*Thinks to self* Why in the world am I posting this?
Oh, sweetie. You know why you're posting this. It's because you hate that mask, and you want to leave it behind. We've all felt the same way. It's fake and wrong and feels bad all over -- because when you're wearing it you're not being you. You deserve to be you. You deserve to show off your you-ness to the world like a pretty outfit or a shiny new car. That is, with pride. So please please start loving you, a type of man the world is sorely in need of. That way, your confidence will be the real thing and not just a mask.
 

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I've always like the adage: be careful who you pretend to be because you become what you pretend to be.
 

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I insult myself constantly. I don't know if I can even call this a mask or not, but sometimes, I act more angry, or more upset toward myself, than I really am. And I think it's because every mistake I make, no matter how small it is, is always very harshly criticized by people in my life. There's really only one person who hasn't done this to me, but I've learned to be fearful and distrusting of people, and as much as I want to fully trust him, it's hard to ignore the instincts telling me to be afraid.

I can't do even the simplest thing right...like taking right bus, or walking down the right street to get to the employment agency, or fill out the forms right... I couldn't even get the date right for the meeting. So when I had to tell my mom that I had once again screwed up, I was really hard on myself, harder than I should have been. And she was just as critical and just made it that much worse. I wish that these people in my life could understand, and could see that I'm already punishing myself and beating myself up so much. Maybe then they'd give it a rest and not add to it.

I known I shouldn't hate myself this much, or that I shouldn't punish myself so much and force myself to be angrier than I need to be, but it's all I know. I've been surrounded by angry and unpredictable people throughout my life, so even though it's not in my nature to be as angry as they are, I force myself to. Because I feel like somehow that's what I'm supposed to be.
 

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I'm not hiding behind any masks. No, if anything it's the opposite: I'm taking them off and revealing my true self. I'm breaking down walls I've been hiding behind for years and reconnecting with the inner me that I've been suppressing most of my life. I'm unlearning bad habits and stripping away emotional baggage. I'm rediscovering who I was before I became so quiet, and I must say, for the first time in my life, I feel like I really know who I am!
 

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I known I shouldn't hate myself this much, or that I shouldn't punish myself so much and force myself to be angrier than I need to be, but it's all I know. I've been surrounded by angry and unpredictable people throughout my life, so even though it's not in my nature to be as angry as they are, I force myself to. Because I feel like somehow that's what I'm supposed to be.
I've acted the same way. There where times in my life where I wasn't really angry at some people, but I acted angry just because it seemed right. Even though I was just tired of people and wanted me time.
 

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I hide behind a mask of indifference and arrogance. I know it appears to be confidence. The thing is, people do not, and will never be able to understand who I am and where I'm coming from. Creativity and a sense of wonder will always be perceived as being naïve, irrational, strange. I'd rather have them believe I'm superior. In a way I'm shielding myself from the world, hiding my true identity to protect myself from being hurt.

I live between concrete walls.

 

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I do wear one mask, but it's not the one of extraversion, or of comfidence, or that of self-hatred. I guess my mask is extreme introversion.

I always hide what I want to say exactly what I want, and go with the flow to avoid being rejected; or hide away to reject the world first. Every time I say exactly what I want to say in my heart, the person I'm talking to laughs like what I said was a joke; making me feel like my feeling are invalid. So I just usually say yes or give a maybe because I don't believe that I can say yes (but make it sound like one, so I can avoid saying why it is non-committal). When I am upset I usually say I'm okay or act okay to the best of my abilities, because I am such a 'nice guy' that I don't want people to worry; or that I am afraid that they'll reject my sorrow when I have different, more "real" problems lying elsewhere.
 

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I hide behind a mask of indifference and arrogance. I know it appears to be confidence. The thing is, people do not, and will never be able to understand who I am and where I'm coming from. Creativity and a sense of wonder will always be perceived as being naïve, irrational, strange. I'd rather have them believe I'm superior. In a way I'm shielding myself from the world, hiding my true identity to protect myself from being hurt.

I live between concrete walls.


I wore this mask a long time, too. Like you, I tried avoiding beeing hurt. Thus I was afraid of beeing hurt. But if you don't let others hurt you, there is no need to be afraid and you can take off your mask and be proud of who you are. Of course you need to be steady in who you are and feel your values to be strong enough to stand up for yourself.



Trying to look superior is definitly not healthy and most people won't dislike you because you appear superior. They will dislike you for acting up. At least that's my experience...
 

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My mask, if I can call it that, is blank. I play the indifferent, silent, lost in thought guy when in public. Though the longer you know me and if there's no strangers around, the more sarcastic and witty I become. If someone ever tries to talk to me, I will be as polite as I can.
 

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I wore this mask a long time, too. Like you, I tried avoiding beeing hurt. Thus I was afraid of beeing hurt. But if you don't let others hurt you, there is no need to be afraid and you can take off your mask and be proud of who you are. Of course you need to be steady in who you are and feel your values to be strong enough to stand up for yourself.



Trying to look superior is definitly not healthy and most people won't dislike you because you appear superior. They will dislike you for acting up. At least that's my experience...



Thanks for understanding. Do you or don't you wear this mask? You wrote in the first post that you wear a mask of fear, so. Maybe it only comes on in difficult situations? Does your mask reappear under stress? That is what happens to me. When I get insecure, I start putting up walls between myself and the world.

I am proud of being myself; I'm an individual and won't ever let anyone change who I am. I have my own identity no matter what people think of me. I just keep it all to myself. Only very close friends are allowed to see parts of the real me. Acting arrogant is my way of standing up for myself. It gives me confidence acting this way, and I make an effort to not overdo it. I’m pretty sure acting like this isn’t making people dislike me. It might make me seem unapproachable though. I feel that when I do show everyone who I really am, I'm making myself vulnerable for no reason, as they won't ever understand me anyway.
 

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I had a psychology class on "The Mask." A big, green book from 1992 & it was actually called "The Mask" & we spent the semester learning about it. It was basically about people putting on different masks in different environments. It's often a defense mechanism, like multiple personalities only it's in the conscious, not the sub-conscious. Shape shifting our persona to fit our environment, usually for comfort, othertimes for other motives. It's an interesting topic to get into. The focus was learning about it & then gradually peeling off the mask a little at a time until we feel safe being our true selves in every environment with no mask. In some cases people "become" the mask over time & lose a sense of identity, which isn't good because that's where our self-esteem is rooted.
 

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Thanks for understanding. Do you or don't you wear this mask? You wrote in the first post that you wear a mask of fear, so. Maybe it only comes on in difficult situations? Does your mask reappear under stress? That is what happens to me. When I get insecure, I start putting up walls between myself and the world.

I am proud of being myself; I'm an individual and won't ever let anyone change who I am. I have my own identity no matter what people think of me. I just keep it all to myself. Only very close friends are allowed to see parts of the real me. Acting arrogant is my way of standing up for myself. It gives me confidence acting this way, and I make an effort to not overdo it. I’m pretty sure acting like this isn’t making people dislike me. It might make me seem unapproachable though. I feel that when I do show everyone who I really am, I'm making myself vulnerable for no reason, as they won't ever understand me anyway.

I'm learning to not wear it, because I consider it a bad habit. Of course there are situations, where I don't show myself but this is only necessary if the fear of others is involved (regarding the quote from Roosevelt).


"Watch your thoughts; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your actions. Watch your actions; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."
- Anonymous



Regarding the walls: I put those up, if I have no idea how to handle current the situation. For me it's an opportunity to think about how to handle this an similar situations so that I don't need any walls the next time. This enables me to be confident without the need of a behavior to fake it and it feels a lot better. I don't want to attack you with this, it's just what I realised to be true for myself.
 

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I'm not much into the Mask Theory.

Sheesh, I don't even wear make-up IRL. Wearing a mask takes too much energy. I prefer to present myself *au natural* IRL, WYSIWYG kinda thing.. I even shift uneasily in my chair, when people use masks as avatars. It's creepy, just what are they hiding under there and it reminds me of clowns.

I don't like clowns.
 

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Ha, this topic preoccupies my thoughts to the extent that I'm writing a dissertation about it. And without being too esoteric, it boils down to the fact that masks get a bad rap for no reason. We only think of masks in modern terms as negative, hiding or concealing things. Masks also serve protective functions, but not JUsT as defense mechanisms, but also in totally innocuous situations (like surgeons). Historically, masks we're used in all kinds of ways, but as societies developed the functions of masks started to be relegated to other things (in my thesis, literature serves a "masking" function of representation of reality). So I'm redefining the mask.

Masks are merely markers of identity that we use to establish rules for interpersonal relationships. Like a wedding ring tells the person you're interacting with that you are only "available" in certain senses of the word but not others. They don't keep us from being who we are unless we let them. In fact, some masks thus conceived can help people BETTER understand our true selves--such as using clothing style to assert personality, or deciding not to wear makeup so that people will know we are not hung up on appearances. It's not the mask itself that is healthy or unhealthy, but the way in which people wield it. We all necessarily select what parts of ourselves are present and active in a given situation due to social norms; it is not something to be feared as long as we are self-aware enough to see all the masks we use and use them judiciously and kindly, to ourselves and others.
 

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hahaha...i used to daydream i had a bunch of friends and drank beer and was a drug dealer...it took me 2 years to realize i was shy and it would never happen(don't want it to happen anymore lol...)..and i would never walk from my house to a place like that...and i would read articles on being bold...and get disappointed that i wasn't an extrovert because that's what i belived was the ideal and the best to be...but now i embrace my shyness and innerness...and am much calmer
 

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I'm not sure if this is the same as wearing a mask, but don't most people at least slightly alter the way we present ourselves to others based on our realtionship with them and the environment we are in at the time?

For example, the slang and cuss words, as well as the topics I discuss with my friends are certaintly very different from the language and topics of conversation I would use when speaking with my grandmother.

At work we all have our professional masks on. We know that we are expected to behave in a certain manner so we censor our behavior and what we choose to share about ourselves based on the environment we are in.

There are certain things I would share with my husband that I would never share with my mother and vice versa.

Does this mean that I am not being authentic? If not, then who am I really if I adapt my words and behavior depending on the people and/or environment?

masks.jpg
 
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