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Addiction & Mind
Posted by: Michael
Reading time: 6 minutes
In part one of this article, we looked at some ways that the masks can disconnect you from yourself. There’s more of that here, but the wider problem with masks is how they disconnect you from others.
We have such high priority tied to outer beauty that our perceptions of each other are complete distortions of reality. We judge each other based on appearances, on how we look, and what we have, and how we compare to others. The outside is more important than the inside. They are unequal. Not aligned.
The outside is only part of who we are. Our inner beauty, our abilities to be kind, and respectful, and honorable, and show love and understanding to others, this inner world must be just as important as the outer world. The inside must align with the outside.
When appearances are more important, and beauty is only skin deep, this is a far more serious problem than just being shallow. The all-important physical traits and appearances make it too easy to rank things. Some things are perceived as better than others.
We do this to our own bodies, valuing some traits and hating others. We also do it to each other. Because the outer self is more important than the inner self, it becomes possible to objectify each other. And degrade each other. And keep prejudice on everything that isn’t good enough. We allow bullying to happen. We tolerate a person disrespecting another.
This applies to you, one person, and it applies to all of us, as a group. The more the inner self and outer self are not aligned, the more it hurts, and the more pain gets spilled onto others around us. This is a very unstable way to live, and the longer we stay this way, the more likely everything will collapse.
What would happen if the inner self and outer self were aligned? If the inside was just as important as the outside? If this were the case, all of us could be beautiful, for the things we did, and for how we felt. We would not rank and judge each other, because we all shared the exact same traits that were valuable. We would accept ourselves as we are, accept others as they are, and we would all stand tall without the need to numb out or seek oblivion.
We would burn addiction out.
Here are 6 more masks that misalign your inner self and outer self, and are distorting reality.
1. The Mask of Scale. It is common to seek approval from others, and want to feel validated in your existence. This wanting becomes pathological when you depend upon it and use people like they were drugs, getting high on their affirmations of you. The weight of your outer appearance is far more valuable to this mask than the weight of your true self within. You hold the door open for someone, not because it feels good from deep within to be of service, but to be seen doing it. This mask is measured by how many gold stars you get from others.
2. The Mask of Energy. You can smile on the outside and hide your fear within. You can craft such a convincing performance that there is not even a shred of physical evidence that you are hiding anything at all. Yet the proof is there, because in your heart you know the fake face that you wear, and the world can feel the vibes of fear no matter how perfectly you smile. Others may see your smile and believe that you are not actually afraid, which means that you are a skilled liar. But when you believe your own fake smile, this is the darkness of delusion.
3. The Mask of Lenses. Putting this mask on will ensure that you interpret everything you see in only one way. No matter what happens, you see everything around you as a reflection of how you’ve fallen short. Someone else has a better body, or a better car, better house, better job, better life. Somehow the lenses twist everything into being about you, and how you’re not enough in some way. This is a method for you to have an endless list of reasons to use whatever addictive substance or behavior that you want, because you deserve to feel better.
4. The Mask of Fractions. The trick of this mask is highlighting certain aspects of yourself while ignoring the parts that do not fit. You lie about where you go, lie about what you do, and lie about how you feel, but because you corrected the cashier when given too much change at the gas station, you still consider yourself an honest person. A few fractions will eventually become fixed as you clutch onto them for identity. Within you, your feelings want to change, your experiences want to develop, your wisdom wants to evolve, but this mask will never allow that.
5. The Mask of Allies. Anytime that you have wanted to become something you’ve never been, or gain something you’ve never had, this mask could be very useful. This is the “fake it till you make it” mask, and it’s only a false identity when you wear it so that you can please someone else. You must try on several masks, to see which ones ally with you the best. But they are still just masks. These are things that you like to do, things you’d like to be, they connect with you, but they are not you. This mask can still bury your true self.
6. The Mask of Mirrors. Imagine seeing a homeless person, dirty and despondent, and feeling contempt towards him for giving up on himself, for giving up on life. This is a mirror, showing a reflection of you, drawing up the old pain of when someone gave up on you, of how you gave up on life. The outer world is a reflection of your inner world. And if those worlds are misaligned, and you are different on the inside than the outside, then this mask can teach you a lesson about something that you must learn.
The question today is, do you speak from your head, what you think you’re supposed to say, or do you speak from your heart, and say the thing you want to say?
This measures how much you are hiding your inner self.
This is the metric to see how well your inner self and outer self are aligned. The farther apart these worlds are, the more it hurts. And the longer you stay that way, the more likely everything will collapse.
Maybe you wear masks, maybe you don’t. Maybe you are burying and hiding inner pain, maybe you’re not. When you find yourself obsessive with avoiding and distracting and spiking your mood, with drugs and alcohol and money and sex and porn and junk food, then there is no question.
At the point of addiction, it’s not a matter of if you wear masks, it’s a matter of how many.
Michael is the Lead Sobriety Coach and Head Blogger of Addiction Reality.