But they are so pretty…you know…those masks we wear.

Yes – and they are incredibly dangerous.

When I first started this project, I was definitely aware of the fact that I had a few masks. I had the one I would wear when I was around big groups of people I didn’t know. I had one that I would wear around pretty girls. I had developed a few through trying to be different personas of the person I thought I should be. So it’s safe to say there were a few and definitely a few more than I have named here.

They were beautiful. Adorned to the 9’s. Intricate. But oh so delicate. And in the end, when the masks would come off…there was just me. But I didn’t like that version at all…so as much as I could…back goes on the mask.

“Reveal everything there is to know about yourself and let the chips all where they may.” – Meet Joe Black

That quote right there, was probably one of the most well-timed pieces of content I have ever digested in my life. Fear will stop you from showing yourself to the world or at a minimum…causing your to present only one foot forward. You can start to believe that your mask is the thing that is saving you from being teased, bullied, humiliated etc. I know what that feeling is like. But the truth is – that mask you wear is actually the thing holding you back from what you could be. That’s the truth. The mask itself and the feeling of safety it gives you because it shades you from others seeing you as you really are is the biggest lie in the world. There is no safety in it…only a constant punishing of yourself.

I can’t be hard on people who are wearing masks. I’ve been there. I’ve been there so many times it’s not really funny to me when I think about it at all. I have sympathy for those who are scared to present themselves to the world as they really are. Because honestly, that is what they really need. They need someone to understand them instead of ridicule them. Humiliating someone for wearing a mask only makes the situation worse. We are all fighting very difficult battles and need to understand each other more instead of putting each other down. Seems to be a rarity these days however.

But there comes a point where the mask is so grim that you have to walk away. You have to walk away because you are wasting your time and time is the most precious commodity you have. These masks other wear can go from simply being scared to be themselves to something much darker and troubling. These masks can be shaped out of jealousy, manipulation, dishonesty and even hate. Those are the hardest to pull off your face – and you’re the one that’s going to have to do it.

I see it a lot. I saw it in myself a long time ago and had to rip and tear to get it off. But today, I see it in the people my age and the constant development of this culture which is about swag, women, clubs, drugs, sex, and so much else…pretty much tossing away love for lust and extremely short-term fixes. These snap fixes seem fun but they drip dry your soul and tear the rest of your morals and values out along with it.

I stopped going to parties my senior year of college because I couldn’t stand the energy at them. Granted there were some that were fun, but all in all, that negative darkness I felt as guys and girls were almost on the hunt for each other while intoxicated and

Accountability is in low supply as well.

Personal accountability is an absolute gift. While it sucks at times, being able to understand that you are responsible for yourself and the things you say and do is a great thing. It frees you up from thinking that life just happens to you and you can’t possible create your own path. Nothing good and pure develops from someone who can’t take accountability for themselves because there’s no integrity in it. No sense of responsibility or duty.

If you take it a step further, accountability means also being accountable to the way you make others feel about themselves via the things you do and say. Mostly the things you do…but words can also make an incredibly big impact. When you start caring about the things you do, then others, then the group…then eventually the community and society…you develop into someone much greater. You become more and more actualized and that brings you mounds of happiness. But when you fail to start with yourself…those masks will continue to creep up and become harder to take off over time.

Take off your masks.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project