Updated: Feb 15, 2021
With the ongoing debate over the use of and politicizing of mask, some may be wondering
“What is there to give thanks about the masks we wear?”
To answer that question, let’s first examine the figurative masks that we wear every day. Whether it is the projection of different personas at work, another at the gym, at church or at home, as humans we often shift how we present ourselves based on the people, places and circumstances that we may find ourselves in. Each environment that we are in may have similar or conflicting expectations of how we should behave, present ourselves and interact based on the activity and who is involve. This often forces us to compartmentalize aspects of ourselves in order to fit in or adjust to conform. At the root of this behavior is that is serves as a self-defense mechanism aimed at seeking acceptance and belonging or reducing the likelihood of rejection and embarrassment. Either way, it is assimilation by choice and in others its survival by necessity.
If we adorn figurative masks to navigate the various aspects of our lives successfully, let’s be
thankful. However, if they are holding you back or limiting your ability to be the best version of yourself, also be thankful for reaching this far and obtaining this level of self-awareness. If you are actively and intentionally working on removing the masks and being more authentic, then be thankful for the journey that you are currently on. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we wear masks in situations that require us to manage others’ expectations of us and our emotions, address difficult circumstance, confront conflict, among other reasons. Essentially, we consciously or unconsciously adorn them as a means of protecting ourselves, and in some instances, others.
So, we are now confronted with a global pandemic and the literal wearing of masks have been proposed as a means of protecting ourselves and others. Let’s be thankful for the sharing of differing perspectives on this issue as well as the science that provide data on how we can protect ourselves. The data is stubbornly in support of wearing masks to minimize the spread of infection. Therefore, some have assimilated by choice, others out of necessity (i.e. in healthcare) and yet for others adorn the figurative mask entrenched in their believes that personal right supersedes the collective good. Either way, masks are being worn and unlike figurative masks, who are wearing literal masks are easily and quickly identified.
Therefore, during the Thanksgiving season, let’s be aware of the various masks we wear. As we choose to continue to quarantine at home or spend time with family and friends, let’s be safe and conscientious about how we are protecting ourselves and others both figuratively and literally. We can be thankful for role masks play in helping us successfully navigate through uncertainty, a health crisis, and a life with no guarantees that tomorrow is promised. Be thankful for the masks that have gotten us to enjoy today, with hopes that our masks will continue to protect us to see a brighter tomorrow.
In addition to being a Girlfriendism Affiliate and creator of the 'The Mask She Wears' virtual workshop series hosted by G-Wellness this Fall, Xaulanda is currently the Senior Consultant for Urbander, specializing in Strategic Marketing, Business Development, and Diversity & Inclusion. She is also Co-Founder of The XauSky Group, providing coaching, consulting, virtual assistant services, and experiential experiences that help her clients plan purposefully, implement intentionally, live creatively, and work passionately. With a BA in Business Administration and MBA in Healthcare Administration, she is currently pursuing a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology. For upcoming sessions with Xaulanda, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her directly at email@example.com!