By Harvey Tobkes

“All the world is a stage. And all the men and women merely players.” A brilliant line, from As You Like It, written by William Shakespeare. To say it another way, we all wear masks to conceal or modify our true selves and our inner feelings.

As we interact with one another in a civilized society we put on our “pretend” faces, and in this way we can control emotions that sometimes have us raging inside and smiling outside.

In certain situations we must cloak our feelings . For example, when dealing with your boss, your wife, a client, or police officer; you many times disguise what you are really thinking in order to survive in this world.

Trouble and problems arise when people wear a mask when they do not have to. At times, we wear too many masks. The weak man wears a mask of stoicism that covers up feelings of being overly sensitive. The vain woman wears a mask of indifference to cover up her desire to be liked. The man who fails his family as a provider may become a braggart, boring people with tales of his success. A woman who is desperate to marry pretends that she has no such intentions.

Sometimes masks will protect you from hurtful things that are said and done, but they also isolate you from contact with good people who appreciate fundamental honesty, a trait that is rapidly disappearing.

In a good friendship or good marriage, you and your friend or wife will know each other “unmasked,”and will be loyal to each other’s interests.

About this entry