I’ve been curious lately about the word, “incognito.” The dictionary defines the word as “having one’s identity concealed under an assumed name; especially to avoid notice or formal attentions.”
When we’re hurt or scared or scarred by a traumatic event, we protect ourselves by concealing our true selves. When we’ve had to endure the storms of abuse in one form or another we seek shelter from the pain. Like the masked man, we hide behind a contrived identity; walling off the vulnerable and yet authentic form of ourselves. We rush to the shadows and become “persona incognito.”
Your face is now “safely” hidden behind a false mask. You can’t imagine the vulnerability and exposure of revealing the real you. Sadly, you’ve bought the lie that the real you is too flawed, too unworthy, too ugly to succeed or be accepted or loved. The truth must be covered up. The risk of rejection is just too risky. The persona is driven underground…incognito. The mask goes on.
Of course the ironic (and tragic) thing is that often the part you are so quick to hide is the very part of you that makes you you. It’s that unique special quality that you were born with. Sadly, you drive it underground and go persona incognito; putting on a mask that says you are something-someone altogether different.
We think we don the mask to hide and protect, when in fact, we actually end up causing more harm.
- The mask hides our true self. This is what you want…right? To hide; to keep from getting hurt. But this is not an advantage. The part you are hiding is the very part you were created to share. In one blow the enemy has not only rendered your gift impotent but also robbed us of your gift; a gift we need. Not only were you created with a unique and special gift but you were created to receive fulfillment from that gift. When you neglect the gift, you rob yourself of the fulfillment that comes from doing what you were born to do.
- The mask blocks your vision. You may not realize it but the mask you wear actually inhibits your ability to see. You may think your mask blocks our ability to see in but it’s actually blocking your ability to see out. It’s almost like the little kid who thinks if he closes his eyes no one can see him. The only way to get a true picture of who you are is to take the mask off.
- The mask blocks the input and encouragement from others. Flowers grow in the direction of the sun and we grow in the direction of encouragement from others. The more we choose to hide the persona incognito the more we cut ourselves off from the very encouragement that causes us to grow.
The scariest thing you will ever do is take off your mask and learn to live without it. It’s time for your persona incognito to come to the light so the rest of us can benefit from the special gifts you were born to bring. It’s time for the big reveal.
Your persona incognito can’t help us when it’s under wraps. We need the real you.