Why are we afraid to let the mask fall away?

As the cold westerly wind made my eyes water on my walk this evening, these thoughts came unbidden into my mind.  A half-moon hung in the eastern sky as twilight approached. Dark shadows were lengthening on the barren eastern desert hills as the sun was sinking below the western ridge crests.  The upper half of the eastern hills continued to catch sunlight and was free of shadows until the sun sank from sight.

What is it that breaks through our shell, the defensive armor we carry with us into the world?  Is it pain – only painful experiences – that can break or penetrate our shell, our facade, our mask?

Why can we not be honest with ourselves . . . . and with others?  Why are we afraid to let show, to admit to, any vulnerability, to our not having all the answers – even to those we are in intimate relationships with?

Why do we allow the expectations, the preferences, the biases, the demands of others impact, influence our thinking and decision making?

Why do we expect – even demand – so much from others and from ourselves?!

Why are we hesitant, reluctant, to show kindness, to lend a helping hand, to care?

Shakespeare said:

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

In other words, honesty begins within one’s own mind.  Be honest with yourself.

No one is perfect.  It is no sin to admit this to one’s self.

Perhaps, we fear letting the mask, the facade, the armor we wear – and hide behind – fall away because we fear being hurt or humbled or humiliated.  Others around us have this same fear.

Everyone knows that no human beings are perfect.  (True human worth does not lie in perfection.)  Thus, do not fear if your imperfection, your fallibility shows from time to time. Do not be afraid to care, even when it makes you feel vulnerable to being hurt.

It is risky, but it may be more authentic, more truly, fully alive to permit yourself to be more open and honest . . . . and show more love.

Vulnerability and risk and hurt are all elements of the human condition.  These are inherent in living in this world.  Do not allow them to make you callous to the suffering and hardships and struggles of others.