A mask of plastic happiness often covers her sadness
Her beliefs hidden from most
Afraid of, but willing to face the unknown
Wondering where her place is in this life
She has come close to sharing herself
Never completely revealing anything to anyone
Feelings of invisible chains corner her
When she dreams, reality shatters before her very eyes
Accomplishments she strives for just at hands grasp
She feels lost sometimes, not yet finding her notch in this world
At times the glimmer in her calm eyes slowly disappears
But within her heart a silent flame burns her inside and out
She roams day by day, playing roles
Strength unknowingly resides in her
History repeats itself once again
The translucent veil she so proudly wears
Little by little answers will come, pushing it aside
One day there will be no more mask for her to wear
One day her beliefs will be known
One day she’ll know her place in this life
One day she will share herself
One day this mask will be no more.
For as long as I can remember I have been accused of not showing enough emotion. My natural tendency is to build a wall up around me that is so rock solid that even the strongest storms of life can’t tear it down. In fact, for many years I was proud of my proverbial toughness. I thought unemotional people were more stable, independent and strong. So anytime I was put in a situation where I was asked to express myself, the walls would only thicken. The less people knew about me, the stronger I felt. I could wear this mask that I believe rendered a woman of strength, confidence and happiness. What I didn’t recognize was the expression on the face of the mask. It only displayed one emotion – emptiness.
Connecting to our emotions can be scary. Most of us have been brought up to hide, suppress or even completely deny how we are feeling. We often believe we will be overwhelmed if we feel too much, so we take the very unhealthy option of shutting down or escaping by numbing and hiding our emotions. We often times forget what it feels like to be happy, excited, surprised, afraid, angry, sad or embarrassed. Instead we become very expressionless.
I always believed (regarding myself) that it was no one’s business what goes on inside the walls of my life. Those ‘behind the scenes’ moments were between me and God. My emotions were less revealing as my walls grew thicker and thicker. The years of guarding my heart and hiding inside my emotionless state of being left me standing inside those walls lost and alone. I would have friends share very personal struggles with me as I empathized with them trying to put myself in their situation and I welcomed those conversations with open arms. But when it came to removing my mask and tearing down my walls, I just turned my cheek. This not only changed the dynamic of our conversation but also the relationship I had with that person.
What I have recognized is that if we are not open to feeling, it makes it harder to actually give and receive. We can’t truly connect or engage with others. Our body is our barometer of truth. It never lies. It was very evident to me yesterday morning at church. We stood up in worship, one of my favorite parts of the service, and I could just feel the tension in my body. I was stiff and emotionless. My songs of praise felt more like songs of practice as I didn’t appreciate the message or meaning of the lyrics I was singing. In most instances my heart is filled with joy and gratitude but this particular morning I could feel the walls starting to build around the most important relationship I have. In this case my lack of openness and emotion affected my relationship with God but on a larger scale it affects every aspect of every relationship we cherish. God forgives but sometimes people don’t. God knows how to break down our walls but sometimes people don’t. If we want to truly connect with people, we have to be willing to remove our mask and tear down our walls. It is the only way we can genuinely empathize with other people, celebrate with other people and love other people.
Just as the word itself suggests – emotion is e-motion. It simply means energy moving through us. It needs to be expressed! If you’re excited – hoot and holler! If you’re happy, smile 🙂
I would be deceiving myself if I didn’t admit that I still struggle with this daily. But having an incredible organization like LIFE leadership that encourages the development of deep relationships with others and mentoring with men and women like George and Jill Guzzardo and Orrin and Laurie Woodward who model what it means to be transparent, makes the growing process so fulfilling. I pray that God inspires others to tear down their walls and remove their masks in order to reveal the beautiful masterpiece that has been created – YOU.
Thought this video was very fitting for this post. I hope it blesses your day: