We are taught that being weak is bad. Weakness is an insufficiency that we need to fix right? What if I told you that weakness and insufficiency are to be embraced and actually the best way to achieve joy?
“Weakness and insufficiency are not acceptable.”
Growing up, being emotional was a sign of weakness. And if you were insufficient in anything, you were expected to figure things our pretty quickly or else that weakness would make you a target. In my life, I have had my share of predatory people that have looked for my weaknesses and pounced. They start by making you believe weakness and insufficiency are not acceptable.
When we are weak and insufficient we create masks to present the opposite and get accepted. These masks become personas that we adopt like characters in a stage production. It might be a mask that you are successful or everything in life is sunshine and puppies. But we get into character whenever an audience is around. For me, my mask was the fact I could care less about people’s opinions. When really, I was addicted to people’s opinions of me. My mask was so thick and complex that people were envious of my seemingly unflappable disposition (ask my wife and how I set a false standard for her that she could never reach).
The issue with masks is that nobody will get to know the real you. On top of which, we think our masks have eye holes to see. They don’t. Masks make us blind to self-awareness. Everything becomes a blind spot, but you dare not drop the mask and reveal your weakness and insufficiency. Nobody can have authentic joy with you when you wear a mask. Joy is defined by being glad to be with someone. When I wear a mask the joy is not real. People just respond to the mask and not the real me.
It is sad, but the truth is my wife never enjoyed our marriage, right from the get-go, for many years. The reason is I got married wearing a mask. It wasn’t until I exposed my weakness and insufficiency that we experienced true joy together. This is the best part. When you are glad to be together, despite glaring weakness and insufficiency, joy becomes that much sweeter and faster to attain.
People can be shocked as to how thin my masks are these days (I don’t think I can ever fully get rid of them sad to say). When I am vulnerable and transparent upfront, I can share true joy with others. They can take their masks off, sharing weakness and insufficiency, and we can be authentic and bonded with joy.
Now I don’t recommend exposing your deepest darkest weaknesses with just anybody. You need to trust and be safe. There will always be predatory people in the world. But you don’t have to pretend to be someone you are not. You can be upfront with the fact you have weakness and insufficiency and leave it at that. But we all need people that are closest to us to put down the masks with. Most likely they see through the masks anyway. And if they prefer the mask, well its time to find some other people to share joy with. We all need joy. Taking the masks off lets us see, helps us breathe and ultimately sets us free from all these lies we believe.