Carnivale comes and go. But the masks we wear sometimes don’t.

Carl Jung (1928) wrote about the personas or masks we adopt and present to the world as a way to make a definite impression on others or as a way to conceal other parts of ourselves. He argued that these are social creations we develop, we believe, in order to be accepted by others.

The masks of Venice were a creative way to break free from one of the most rigid class hierarchies in European history. Wearing them brought the prospect of equal footing. No one could be identified, assessed and judged. So people felt more free to express what they normally wouldn’t.

In our mask wearing, we select behaviours according to the desired impression we want to create when interacting with others. Our masks can shield us from harm and liberate us. And provide assurance against vulnerability. Certainly they can help us project an external image which we believe is more alluring, acceptable and appropriate for the setting we are in.

Yet they can also imprison us. And make us feel more isolated from others and ourselves. Relying on them or attaching ourselves to their power, can backfire. Because inevitably they prevent us from connecting at a deeper level. Of having real and meaningful conversations and relationships. And preventing our true nature to shine so transformation can take place.

So..

We can start by becoming aware of the choices we make about the masks we wear. Why and how we are wearing them. And bit by bit, with courage to disclose what we are truly thinking and feeling we soften.  We start to reveal our concerns, fears, dreams and needs. With an openness to seek and hear feedback, we can gently rid ourselves of our masks, and expose our real selves.

From what I understand in Venice theatre, “gli innamorati” (lovers/those in love) where the ones that never wore masks. True love as it is being naked, bare, vulnerable and open.

 

Sources:

 

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