It used to be my motto for years: take off your masks. Even in my teens I saw so many people trying to be someone else, something else. And even then, I did not understand why. It seemed exhausting.

I’m in my forties now. And by now I know it is exhausting. Yup, guilty. I too wear masks sometimes. I try not to. But I do.

Why, you wonder? In my opinion, we are trying to be what we think others expect of us. We want to be good. We want to do good. We want to be a good daughter, a dear friend, sister, partner, parent, colleague, citizen … and we all have our own ideas on what that should be like. And so we start living to those beliefs. And the worst part is that we blame others. We blame our parents, friends, partners, society. Because we think they lay it all on us.

But that is not true, is it? We do it all to ourselves. We think we should live by all these rules and expectations we thought of ourselves. And in doing so, we are hiding who we really are. We are hiding our talents, our personalities, those things that we all have, that make us special. And by doing so, we create false safety. We are all too polite and too afraid of conflict, to be honest and tell the people around us how we really feel.

Why don’t we stop thinking for others? Why don’t we start asking ourselves: Who am I? What do I have to offer to the world? Be yourself. There is only one of you. It might as well be you!

Published on Medium on Sept 24 2015

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