“The persona is a complicated system of relations between individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual.” ~Carl Jung
Carl Jung was contemporary of Sigmund Freud and he founded many of the core ideas discussed in modern psychology. Jung’s in-depth analysis of the psyche and the unconscious has influenced generations of psychologist. He introduced new ideas about the formation of personality, including the concept of persona.
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” ~Oscar Wilde
The “persona” refers to the collection of masks that we wear in our daily lives. We have masks for ourselves at school, at work, as a parent, a spouse, a friend, etc. The “mask” can be expressed through the clothes we wear, our hobbies, the material objects we surround ourselves with, and the various things we ascribe importance to.
Our “mask” protects and helps us in a number of ways. It helps us to express our personal brand to the public when meeting new people, and it facilitates others’ interaction with us. Those with well-developed personas are easily relatable to others in group settings because their interests and personality is clearly identifiable through their manners and style. The mask allows us to put forth what we want others to see, and hide the side of us that could be perceived as less attractive according to the culture we live in. It helps us to bond healthily with others, setting boundaries at various levels of comfort in our different relationships.
However, our mask is not our real self. When we start to believe this it can deteriorate our relationship with ourself, and our relationships with others. We wear our mask, acting out the role, a character similar to ourselves, but fundamentally different as it doesn’t acknowledge our flaws, instead it represses them. And if society rewards for our performance, it becomes easy to keep the act up even in private, as it may be viewed as superior. Acting out this role all the time deprives ourselves of the nourishment and satisfaction that only comes from genuine self-expression.
“Since the differentiated consciousness of civilized man has been granted an effective instrument for the practical realization of its contents through the dynamics of his will, there is all the more danger, the more he trains his will, of his getting lost in one-sidedness and deviating further and further from the laws and roots of his being.”
Masks = a lack of Intimacy
When this role takes over, it holds us back from being truly intimate in relationships as we lose touch with our inner truth. It also limits us from recognizing the fact that we have a variety of masks for a reason. A certain mask that might be appropriate in some scenarios could be destructive in others. This could be seen in a person that brings their work self home to their family.
We all wear masks, and we change them with each relationship that we have. If we stay connected to our soul while wearing our various masks, we can actively recognize their usefulness, and their limitations.
This topic will be covered further in Inner Growth Therapy’s upcoming Mask Making Workshop on Sunday, October 23rd from 3 pm to 6 pm at the Silver lake Independent Jewish Community Center. We will explore the historical magic of mask making and provide mask making supplies. Participants will explore one of their own real or imagined persona and on the inside of their mask they will place what they do not show to the outside world. Want to join us?
Click here: https://squareup.com/store/innergrowththerapy to reserve your space.
The cost for the workshop is $30.
Sign up early and save $5 by the 16th of October.
Use the CODE: EARLYB