A friend of mine told me a story he had heard that I summarize below.
Once upon a time there was a wealthy man who was rejected by a woman because of his dour mood. In order to win the woman he went to the most talented mask maker he could find and offered a large sum of money for a mask that looked like it was a real face and asked that a mask be made for him with a smile on it. The mask maker worked hard and long and finally succeeded. The wealthy man put on the mask and his life changed. The woman who had rejected him all this time changed her mind and decided to marry him.
This wealthy man had an enemy who was jealous of his good fortune and who found out about the secret mask. This enemy went up to the man and in front of his wife ripped off his mask.
Then an amazing thing happened. The dour face that had been underneath the mask was gone. There on the real face was a smile.
What is this story telling us? The message I get is that if we try and put on a pleasant demeanor our lives will improve and we will become happier.
There is a lot of truth to this. On the other hand it brings up the question "Should we be pretending to be other than we are when we are attempting to attract someone?" Should we be wearing a mask? My friend told me the lesson he learned from this was no matter how badly he was feeling he should act happy.
I think that is wrong. I think we should be ourselves. I think the secret is not to wear a mask and pretend to be happy, but to try and be happy. The true part of the story above is that if others see our happiness they are likely to like us more and become happier and that will help us become happier.
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