“We are more apt to feel depressed by the perpetually smiling individual than the one who is honestly sad.”
– Rollo May
I remember a group conversation about a relatively banal subject when someone opened up and talked about his own experiences using steroids for a period of time. The funny thing was, in spite of my negative feelings about steroid use, I found myself liking and respecting this guy more not less, and it was because he was being authentic despite the obvious risk of airing something in a social setting that is generally looked down upon.
Just like May points out above, we are all of us drawn to authenticity over socially sactioned behavior, and being aware of this fact can help give us the courage to be more authentic in our own lives and dealings despite the risk. The obvious benefit of wearing a mask is that your protect your soft underbelly, but you pay for it by not ever really feeling or being known.
The biggest obstacle to authenticity in all its forms is the secret belief that people will not like the real you. The reality is that some won’t and that’s fine, since the ones that do will give you the chance for fulfilling human connection instead of staying at the superficial level all your life, where you are safe but ultimately alone.