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The Masks We Wear

As I try and recover from the over eating that occurred on a snowy Thanksgiving Holiday I want to take the time to reflect on my past few days.  My dear readers, I want to thank you for continuing to read this rambling of a blog, and I want to challenge you to think about what has been running through my mind the past couple of days.  My students and I have started examining the evolution of character as well as the evolution of self.  We started by discussing what psychologist Carl Jung has proposed about "The Masks We Wear,"  not literal masks, but figurative masks.  Let me elaborate dear reader, in certain social situations we are forced to adapt or evolve to fit certain societal parameters and norms; the way that our conscience helps us to adapt to this evolution is through placing figurative masks on our faces.  For example, a mask that has us to downplay certain emotions so that we can deliver socially accepted and appropriate responses to emotions we are experiencing in these new situations.  This mask is called the Caustic Mask, the masks that I often find myself wearing are the following: The Drama Queen Mask, The Guru Mask, and The Wannabe Mask.  If you are interested in learning about the different masks that social psychologists have studied it is just a google search away.  One of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher is the simple fact that when I am pushing my students to "think outside the box" and to question everything around them, including their inner workings, I too get to be pushed intellectually and emotionally.  I'm not going to lie dear reader, this was difficult to accept that I, the educated person, also wear masks.  When this realization hit me my brain started going crazy, I started to question then, do we ever know who we really are, are we wearing masks even when we are alone?  How do you live without wearing these symbolic masks?  So I wanted to start simple with simple questions, when do we literally wear masks?  Halloween or events that call for a costume.  Why then during these times do we choose to wear masks?  To hide our identity, for fun, to scare people, or to be something that we aren't for one night.  Then I applied this reasoning to this study in psychology.  Why do we wear these figurative masks?  Simply put, for the exact same reasons listed above.  We hide behind these social masks as an act of protection of our most inner selves.  Next question, when is it ok to take these masks off?  When we feel comfortable enough to be who we truly are, without fear of judgement.  Then the final question, how do we take these masks off to discover our inner selves?  By being true to what our emotions are telling us, and by being unapologetic of who we are and who we want to become.  I heard someone once say "you can apologize what what you have done, but never apologize for who you are, and that when you are real with people, expect real in return."  So dear readers, never apologize for who you are or who you want to be, because that is your truth not someone else's, but yours.  In the end you are the one who has to live with your choices at the close of the day, and in the words of Branda Anderson "We are the agents of our choices."  

As I bring this ramble to a close while having Groundhog Day with Bill Murray playing in the background with a nice glass of red wine and the glow of the Christmas Tree radiating through the living room, I remind myself that I am on this journey of growth and discovery, living to learn each day and growing through experience, and that the only way that I can help cultivate a positive change in this world is by sharing my experiences and challenging myself to see and understand things I haven't seen nor understood.  Thank you dear readers for taking the time to read the ramblings of a crazy visionary, and I hope that I can help to provide you with insight and awareness in a world that seems to lack clarity.  Remember, never apologize for who you are, and that we are the agents of our choices.  xoxo Douglas

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