Perhaps the one single thing that the world population has in common today! Claustrophobic, obstructive, yet necessary savior, many people describe the experience of wearing one differently.

For some, hiding their faces means hiding their whole personalities, it’s affected the way they dress up, engage with people and go about doing their jobs. For those who are working in essential services or even delivering grocery, books, home items, it’s at least a 12 hour experience of breathing in and breathing out within few inches of space. For hospital staff, its beyond that and we cannot imagine what they go through wearing not one but layers of it.

Akin to the physical experience, we all, however, wear masks of different kinds in our daily lives. To cover our emotional baggage, to showcase courage, to exhibit strength and to gain acceptance.

Being accepted and recognized for who we present ourselves to be is perhaps one of the biggest human need. This seeking for validation coupled with our own experiences means we wear different masks at different occasions. And just like it is not easy to wear one physically, it is not easy to wear one mentally.

In the realm of world affairs, and corporate environment, diplomacy is expected to be followed to maintain the optimal decorum and also avoid conflicts. In the area of home affairs, we meet a lot of relatives and friends and tend to nudge along a lot of areas we may not be comfortable with to avoid hurting people or to gain wider popularity. Society sometimes even scoffs at people who are candid and do not mince words while expressing themselves.

So, is wearing these masks normal, natural and has become part of your living or do you find relief when you get to take it off?

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Here, is what I would like to point out:

  • It seems much easier to connect with your childhood and lifetime friends, when you aren’t wearing a personality cloak and you can be yourself!
  • Big part of your emotions that bother you are the ones ‘un-said’!
  • It does, however, add to your woes when you cannot control the conflict!
  • In family situations, it is not easy when you have to lift yourself to go and meet some people!
  • It is delightful to share anecdotes about when you got over your fears and did what needed to be done despite resistance and opposite advice.
  • In corporate world, there are some leaders who want to know the truth! Who don’t mind the band aid being ripped off to get to the problem.
  • There are nations responsible for mass genocides in other territories yet maintain diplomatic ties with each other?
  • Yet, what kind of a place would the world be without the Leaders of states keeping their diplomatic relations!

If wearing your mask/s goes against the grain of your nature, it starts affecting you. If you are screaming inside to take it off, it’s time to look at the reasons you are wearing one.

If one is aware of the mask being necessary for prevention, whether physical or mental, it’s something one is happily accepting of.

The views expressed in the article are that of the author and not of the publisher or its management.

This article has been authored by Nandini Bhatnagar. She is currently leading Marketing and Communications for Sun Life Asia Service Centre (India).

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