Several years ago, Andy contracted an illness that landed him in the isolation unit of our local hospital for two weeks. Visitors had to wear a mask, gown and gloves. He commented later that those weeks of seeing no expressions on faces caused a strong feeling of isolation, which led to a lot of loneliness and depression.

As part of the human race, we have a need for connection with others. The need to touch, to see expressions, to talk with someone face to face so that we can absorb and react to their thoughts and emotions. Granted, there is a difference among personalities as to exactly how much interaction is wanted, but overall, every one of us needs people to a degree.

But unfortunately, Covid virus or no Covid virus, people live wearing a mask. No, not a physical face covering, but a mask to hide what we secretly believe is a weakness in ourselves. ‘No matter what, keep up the act to disguise who I am afraid I am.’

Ever see someone with a big smile and a giggle or a belly laugh, always ready with a joke for the world? Is it all real, or behind that laughter is there a hurting person living with insecurity and sadness? Is the gregarious outgoing man that you hear at the ballgame just naturally that friendly and open? Or is he really a shyer personality? A quiet man who detests that trait in himself, and is forcing himself to be someone he likes better.

Ever experienced knowing a lady who is cool and aloof with everyone? Could it be possible that she fears rejection, having experienced that pain before and she wants to avoid it at any cost? After all, ‘It is easier to be the rejector than the rejected’ - or so we think. But it hurts. No matter which one you are.

Make no mistake, mask-wearers usually do a job good enough to fool the world. For awhile. But the inability to live as your true self takes a toll, and our bodies and minds pay the price. Because when a person believes there is something unacceptable about their personal self, that creates shame. One of the heaviest emotional rocks that can be laid on a person’s shoulders. So they don a mask to be someone else they like better. Then they have the double whammy of shame and having to act a part…all the time. No wonder there are many living in depression and anxiety.

Folks, we shouldn’t have to protect ourselves. God made you perfect in His eyes. If you are quiet and shy, accept that you are quiet and shy. If you are a true people-person, then that is who you are, and you need to be that person. So consider dropping your mask. After all, when God made you…He broke the mold. So people need the real you, cause you are the only you.

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