We respond to shame like we react to sensitivity to light. We cover up and isolate ourselves. We lose ourselves in the resulting darkness. For women, it seems to be the hair, the trying to be, the make up that’s too much–a covering not an accent. For men, it seems to be the bravado, the pretentious style, the “don’t care” look that is played out and hiding insecurity. A persona, not a person.
Another way to respond to shame is as it were a mold. In mitigation, we would fix leaks and moisture traps, ensure the proper function of heating and ventilation, vent appliances, and perform regular inspections. In other words, we would never pretend, hide, or deny problems. We would address them.
I’m not interested in an argument about your favorite mask. I am tempted to identify how your “unique self-expression” looks similar to mainstream, everyone else. But, that would let me off the hook. I wear masks too. I am not exempt from wanting to portray a part on life’s stage. I just want you to answer a simple question that reveals whether you are who you say, or whether shame has you shook.
When you see an opportunity for something else, can you submit to it without the shame of admitting that what you wear now is a mask?
Can you fix the leaks of esteem and failed attempts, and vent the moisture of tears and frustrated sweat? The easiest way to ensure that the mold of shame does not take hold: remove the mask.
You Put On. But the Mask Must Come Off
You put on attempting to look the part. The alternative is to dress your best, accounting for your shape, style sense, and intention. Shape to build out proportions and balance. Style to express your uniqueness and creativity. The intention to influence the level of beauty and peace in the world.
Who Are you trying to look like? What’s the shame in looking like YOU? What if you accepted yourself without the shame?
You Hide. And We Are Denied Light
You remain silent or speak too much with the intent to blend. The alternative is to stand with your agenda risking that others will disagree. You seek compromise, consensus, and understanding. You allow the time for engaged communication, not just to make your point.
What are you hiding from? The people who don’t like you are not going to change. Your influence on the world is being muted. Worse, it may be diminishing our opportunity.
You’re Lost. But It’s Our Loss
You try to be whatever it is that would make you happy and successful. The alternate is to accept life as the opportunity in each moment. To search, explore, and discover you again and again. To know joy as a constant extending from each moment of discovery. Never an end but a moving, paying, living forward.
There is no try. Do or do not. Work or rest. Be conscious or really live. What’s the shame in finding you? Even if you find some fault, that is one moment. The choice in the next moment is joy renewed.
No More Shame
News to you: we all know you are wearing a mask. Because we wear them too. You give it away in various ways. The question is, Does this cause you shame? To redouble your efforts at pretending. To hide. To lose.
Shame necessitates the masks. Don’t allow the most arrogant, boastful, and narcissistic to be the only ones refusing shame. Don’t put on, hide, or try. Become, engage, and live open and intentional in each moment. It’s a risk, but we all benefit from your reward. Your refusal of shame calls me out of mine. Your removal of your mask invites me to reveal my face.