“That’s what real love amounts to—letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending—performing. You get to love your pretense. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act—and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”
It’s so easy to find our identity in something outside of ourselves: our looks, our salary, the relationship we’re in, the house we live in, etc. They define us whether they’re good or bad. If we find identity in our looks, it could be because we are considered attractive or because we think we’re terribly ugly. If in our salary, it could be related to earning a lot, or to being poor.
The thing is, whether positive or negative, all of those identities are hollow. They aren’t who we really are. Jim Morrison hit the nail on the head when he said we love our chains. Since college, I’ve found my identity in my accomplishments and in my appearance. For several years my identities were thin, disciplined, and hardworking. Then suddenly (while recovering from anorexia), my identities switched to heavy, lazy, and unattractive.
Those identities were as real to me as yours are to you, but they do not comprise what’s really real about us. We are more than the images we are chained to. We were knit together by the One who made the universe, fearfully and wonderfully created. Let’s stop settling for cheap masks and dig deeper to discover what we’re made of. I think we’ll be pleased to find that we’re so much more than the silly things our culture encourages us to define ourselves by.
In what ways do you wear a mask?