100 Days of Mask Wearing

If you’re looking for a political fight over whether people should be wearing masks during a pandemic you’ve come to the wrong place. The title of this post is pure clickbait cause I’m not writing about that kind of mask. 

I’m writing about the masks that many people wear everyday. Even people who would say “no one can make me wear a mask” frequently wear masks. 

It’s the masks they wear when pretending to be someone or something they are not. They wear them for a lot longer than 100 days too. They wear them for many reasons. Some don’t particularly like who they really are. Some want to impress people who they believe won’t accept them as they are. Some people seem to be afraid to let others know the person they actually are. The list of reasons could go on and on. 

I gave up on wearing the kind of mask that hides who I am a long time ago. I adopted the thinking of the great American philosopher Popeye. He was very comfortable with who he was and frequently said, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” 

Me too.

Some people don’t like who I am. That’s fantastic! I’ve not invested a single minute trying to fool people into liking me so at least they don’t like me for who I really am. Image making all that effort to wear a mask only to discover people don’t like the person you’re pretending to be. What a waste! I am what I am and that’s all that I am. If people like who and what I am then that’s fantastic too. 

Either way I’m not putting on a mask to try to get more people to like me. Wearing that kind of mask is a lot of work and it’s not particularly effective. People are gonna figure you out sooner or later anyway. You might as well make it easier by showing them the real you. 

I’m more than certain the people who are supposed to be in your life will be in your life. I’m also very sure that you’ll have a more enjoyable life living the life of the person you really are. It’s also likely that wearing a mask to hide the real you won’t make more people like you, it will just make different people like you. But if your mask falls off those people will quickly fall away.

If you need to wear a mask to get somebody to think better of you then you don’t need them thinking of you at all. You also shouldn’t care what they think in the first place.

Be you! Be the best you that you can possibly be. Be “all that you are” all of the time because it’s that authenticity that will ultimately make you a person to be admired. 

And you don’t need a mask for that!

Who Are You?

Are you who you think you are? Are you who other people think you are? Are you basically the compilation of the five people you spend the most time with?

The answer to all of those questions is yes….sort of. I say “sort of” because you’re likely not exactly who you think you are. You’re also almost certainly not who other people think you are although they might be closer to the real you than you want to admit.

You are definitely influenced by the handful of people you spend the majority of your time with. You likely think and act a lot like them. You believe much the same as they do and you’re most comfortable being “real” when you’re with them.

So the better question is are you who you want to be?

Think of the people you know well that you respect and admire the most. These are not people you read about in the news or see in the movies. These are people you actually know. You know their good side and their not so good side. What are the qualities and characteristics they possess that cause you to admire them?

Think hard, invest some time in this. What is it really that sets them apart from the crowd?

How close are you to possessing these same qualities and characteristics. Notice there is no question mark at the end of that sentence. That’s because it’s not a question for you. It’s a question that you should be asking other people. It’s a question that you should be asking, on a regular basis, your coach or mentor.

The reason I’m not suggesting that you ask yourself is that if you’re like most people you won’t be completely honest with yourself. You’ll cut yourself too much slack and provide yourself with excuses you wouldn’t give anyone else. That’s nice to do for yourself but it isn’t helpful if your goal is to better yourself.

Once you have some sincere and honest input from people who know you well then you can decide if the you they see is the you that you want to be. There are a lot of “yous” in that sentence but this post is after all about you.

You’ll likely hear about a few shortcomings but that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect, not even the people you admire the most. You have to decide if the good qualities and characteristics you possess outweigh those shortcomings. If you have a weakness that you think is holding you back then you know what to work on.

I’m okay with being imperfect. I’m okay with not being liked by everyone. I’m okay with not being understood by everyone. I’m even okay with some people thinking I’m downright stupid.

Sometimes I disappoint people, sometimes I disappoint myself. I could make a pretty strong case that if you’re never disappointed with yourself, either with something you’ve said or done, then you’ve set your expectations for yourself way too low.

But that doesn’t make you a bad person and it certainly doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human. And you are everything that comes with that, good and bad. That is who you really are!