Identity Masks – Day 19

30-Day Writing Challenge

Identity is formed through one-on-one relationships, groups we’re a part of, and the interactions between these two. Once this identity is accepted we attach to that character when in the “right” context, whether we like it or not. A simple example is we act a certain way around childhood friends, but differently around our co-workers. 

You can think of these different identities as masks we put on for specific interactions and when these worlds collide (e.g. old friends and co-workers) we feel torn on which mask should be worn. At least this is the case for most of us… And it’s a sad story. 

The major flaw in this thinking is that our identity is stagnant and our friends are only accepting of our past selves… You need to remember that we’re primates and adapt with time, as well as context. As we change on the outside (e.g. age), we’re hopefully changing on the inside as well (e.g. wisdom and intellect)… And if you’ve lucked out in finding high-quality friends, then they’ll accept whatever mask you’re wearing. 

Let’s talk about time and context. 

  • Time – All the identities we’ve created up to this moment evolved from past life experiences, so we should fully expect our current identities to evolve into something new in the future. If you’re pushing yourself to grow emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually it’s impossible to avoid this evolution of our identities (or masks).
  • Context – Even if you stay in the same location from birth to death, your surroundings will change. This constant flow of change comes in the form of people, places, locations, and cultures. As this change flows in and out of your life the identities (or masks) you’re connected with change as well. 

Accepting and enjoying the process of this identity shift is the key to internal stability. This is something I wish I would’ve known many years ago because the more you refuse to change, the more painful it is to you and those around you. 

To detach from our identity and allow room for another to take its place is one of the most difficult things a human can do, but the more familiar you get with noticing the change the more enjoyable the process becomes… And the more we evolve as humans.

Next time you feel that internal struggle with the person you were and the person you’re becoming, don’t fight it, instead, accept it with open arms.