We all wear one. Our masks are the protections we employ to keep ourselves safe from the outside world. They catch imperfections and filter out the unwanted while allowing others to come in a little closer. Our masks come in many varieties and can make a statement about who we are and what’s important to us. No one’s mask fits quite the same but they all serve the same purpose. Our masks are the personalities that we present to others.
The word personality comes from the Latin root persona, meaning mask. Your Prism Personality is a description of how you present yourself to others and how they perceive you. In this way personality is a psychosocial construct made up of attitudes, habits, preferences, and needs. Similar to wearing a protective mask when out in public, our personalities become the filters for what’s happening beneath the surface while often offering the most visible part of ourselves to others.
Much like that protective mask, our personalities can sometimes become wearing. After all, they’re the filter through which our greatest and worst emotions must pass. Sometimes we may even feel that we’re limited by that filter. That there’s not enough freedom of expression possible to show the way that we’re truly feeling. Others might not even realize that under our masks we’re actually smiling—or just trying to keep breathing. Over time, the face of familiarity can set in and it’s not always apparent what’s going on beneath the surface, even unto ourselves.
While we may not always be satisfied with the way we react, communicate, or represent ourselves—personalities just like masks, can flex to meet our needs. This week, while you don your actual mask, consider this: According to Psychologist Susan David in her TED Talk The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage, “Research on emotional suppression shows that when emotions are pushed aside or ignored, they get stronger. Scientists call this amplification.”
If ever there was a time to address the origins of emotions and fine-tune the filter of personality through which they travel, that time is now. Whether big or small, dull or bright—wear the mask you need the world to see.
“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
– Nathaniel Hawthorne
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