How many times have you thought to yourself, “If they just got to know me, the real me, they would love me”? As someone who believes that most people are incredibly beautiful, sensitive creatures with baggage that sometimes causes them to portray an image that doesn’t exactly reflect their true selves, I often find myself advocating for the people beneath the mask.
Take me for example. Most people would tell you I’m goofy, blunt, boy crazy and a little inappropriate at times. But this is the person that I let people see. Not many people take the time to really get to know the things that are bubbling under the surface. Most of the time I give off that give off an, “I don’t give a shit what you think” vibe but really I care a lot what other people think about me.
We’re so quick to judge everyone’s situation that we don’t allow ourselves to see what’s going on underneath.
Maybe it’s the storyteller in me but I love hearing about everyone. I love when people let down their guard and let me see the incredible person hiding behind their exterior. I’ve been wrong on my first impressions more times than I’d ever care to admit. I’ve thought that I really didn’t like someone until I really got to know them and I realized in that moment they’re just like me; struggling to figure out the person they are. We’re all wrestling with who we should be on the outside and who we actually are on the inside.
I love being proven wrong in this sense. I find that when you give most people a chance to be who they are you’re really going to like them. Everyone ultimately wants the same things in this world; love and acceptance. If we could allow everyone to be themselves then we’re going to find a lot less people who feel like they need to pretend.
I’ve struggled with my identity for a really long time. I always put myself in a role I knew I couldn’t keep up with. There are a handful of people that I would let see me for me but I recently changed that. I realized that if I wanted to be happy and inspire others that I would first have to do the work to make myself feel the love and acceptance I want to give to everyone else.
Let me tell you it was hella hard and hella costly. When we say things that make other people feel uncomfortable, whether it be a shortcoming of ours or a trauma we’ve had in the past, you feel the other person you’re telling almost start to shut down. Why? Why do people shut down when we admit the less than perfect things about ourselves?
I think the reason other people get uncomfortable when you talk about your scary stuff is because it reminds them of their own. A lot of people aren’t ready or willing to work on the hard things because it’s incredibly terrifying. Everyone wants to be happy all the time and when you remind them that you’re human it reminds them that they are also human with real emotions.
We collect traumas and feelings throughout our lifetime. It’s almost as if we have an internal counter that keeps a tally of the moments and memories of when we didn’t feel good enough. Those negative memories and moments are the ones we fall back on when things aren’t going our way or when we see something in someone else that reminds us of our shit.
You should let yourself try to see beneath the mask that most people wear and let other people see beneath yours. You owe it to yourself to get to know someone fully before you judge them because you never know the beautiful understandings they can give you. Sometimes I find by listening to another person’s stories and struggles, I find an answer to my own.
By giving someone a chance to let you see who they are, you will experience love in a capacity you never thought was possible. I’ve fallen in love, and I don’t mean romantically, with so many genuine and kind souls who I originally have written off. Give everyone a chance because you never know what lies beneath the mask.