Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hiding your true identity

I'm really saddened these days by all the news stories of damage done to Jewish cemeteries and of threats for more. When I hear this, I think of Anne Frank and Corrie ten Boom and so many more stories of the Holocaust—of Jews hiding their identity and of non-Jews with good hearts hiding Jews even at risk of their own lives.

These stories could lead us in several directions because there are so many levels to such hate crimes. One could discuss good and evil existing side by side. One could discuss the fears that lead to such crimes. We could even talk about what to do in the face of such hatred and fear.

Today, however, I simply want to ask you whether you've ever had to hide your identity. Perhaps you've never had to do so because you feared for your life as happened during World War II. But perhaps you had to hide who you really were—in a workplace, in a marriage, in a friendship—because you felt it really would not have been OK to be who you really were.

We all wear masks to present a face to the world that we think is more acceptable than who we think we are inside. That can be slightly different from actually hiding who we are because we fear rejection or retribution of some type. Have you ever thought you might not move ahead in your career if your boss or coworkers knew the authentic you? Have you worried that your spouse or partner wouldn't really love you if you showed your true self? Have you worried that you can't say what you think in your place of worship because of what others might think?

What might it feel like to reveal who you really are? To risk living in a completely authentic way? Let yourself feel how that might be. What do you need to do to live authentically? Are you ready to risk it?

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