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Monday, 04 November 2013 10:08

The Masks We Wear (And Should Throw Away)

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The Masks We Wear

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a charity masquerade dance/event to raise money for a young boy suffering from a costly medical condition. It was a real joy to help provide some surprise relief for this boy’s family as the holiday season (and medical bills) approached.

During the event I observed some fascinating social behaviors displayed by the attendees, 99% of whom were single and fell within the 25-50 age range. I noticed these same mannerisms at several Halloween functions I went to which piqued my curiosity even further.

I’m a people watcher, an “observer”. While I often find myself the center of attention as a speaker or visiting athlete or host, I am perfectly content just sitting with a small group of friends and talking the night away. However, more often than not I do not have the luxury of doing this, so over the years I have learned to quickly evaluate the personalities, mindsets, habits, attitudes, desires and motivations of the crowd, group or person(s) I find myself associating with for whatever event I am at.

As I watched the people at the masquerade and Halloween parties, I noticed that many were willing to give up their uniqueness in a good-intentioned attempt to be unique. Confused? Let me put it another way: I saw people put on the “important” and “required” social and fashion “masks” in order to fit in when they really desired to stand out.

That isn’t to say it was all bad. I saw deep maturity mixed in with the immaturity, plus genuine concern and care mixed in with the shallow attempts to flirt and feel socially fulfilled.

Yet underneath it all, I saw many souls who carried deep wounds and were looking for social approval as a way to (temporarily) heal those hurts or the loneliness. They wanted to have fun, to enjoy a night out with friends, yet there it was, in their eyes: the look of someone trapped in a never-ending search for acceptance because deep down they have yet to accept themself.

Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

    1. In a world where many are trying so desperately to stand out, it saddens me to see how hastily they dismiss their natural talents and personalities and sacrifice their God-given value just so they can fit in. Whether it is girls dressing in as little clothing as possible or guys trying to pretend they are still the king of their high school at the expense of others, anytime we demean ourselves for social acceptance we lose the two things of highest value: our honor and integrity.

 

    1. Halloween is, like so many singles activities/gatherings, still a fashion show. While we cannot always see who is underneath the mask, we still evaluate them by it because it is what we see first (am I talking about their costume or their appearance? You decide). Although we know better, we still judge the book by the cover, even a fictional one (isn’t that what all our expensive clothes, makeup and toys really are: fictional “covers”?). The failure arises when we stop there and never get to know the heart and soul of the person, thus ignoring where true beauty lies.


Best party ever

    1. I swear I saw more people playing on their phones than talking to the people around them. In my opinion singles need to spend less time on Facebook and more time face to face. They need to stop text messaging and make phone calls more often. They need to IM less and ask out more. Social media gives a false sense of “connection” which robs us of the opportunity to enjoy real interaction with people. Technology is great, but it is NOT the cure-all for our social needs and I wonder if that is why there is so much loneliness in the world.

 

    1. Lastly, this generation has a real problem, one that I feel comes from a higher emphasis on the media and a lessened-emphasis on respect (for self and others). In all of my many adventures I have observed that a good percentage of people lack a strong understanding of self-esteem vs. their inherent value. Our value is God-given; it never changes. We are loved by God, possess infinite potential and can do anything we set out minds to. Self-esteem, however, is the great “ghost” that far too many waste their time, money and emotional/mental energies pursuing. Self-esteem is that acceptance by our peers that sure, we all desire, but we need to remember we are already accepted by God first and should stop wasting our lives away trying to please others. Please God and the rest will fall into place. That includes in our dating and social lives.


Why fit in

Life is short. We do not have time to spare in frivolous pursuits of trying to win the approval of others. Be your authentic self. Follow your dreams. Have hope, believe in love and forgive yourself and others for the mistakes we all make in life. Never give in to despair and most of all, never sacrifice your God-given value in the pursuit of a false-sense of social security.

If you really want to stand out as the great person God intends for you to be, put the masks (the expensive clothes, the fancy toys, the “titles” and social “statuses”) away in the closet and let your natural power shine. It is the only way you can be powerfully unique, after all.

Fire on Ice by Jeremy C Holm

Jeremy C. Holm

Author & American athlete Jeremy C. Holm has spent over half his life in the fast-paced winter sport of bobsled, including as the Head Coach for the US Adaptive Bobsled Team. He has a degree in Journalism and is pursuing a degree in Military History at the American Military University. In addition to motivational speaking and corporate appearances around the world, Jeremy is the author of three books and spends his time camping, hiking, writing and trying to make history, one day at a time.

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