Brené Brown tells the story of her first TED-type corporate speaking engagement where she suddenly realises that people at ‘C-level’ weren’t those working at the front line (she’d heard ‘s-e-a’ level…)
A wise companion suggests she peek around the curtain to see the audience. There in the midst of mainly men in white shirts and dark suits – executive types – she notices a chap who shared her journey to becoming sober years earlier. And a neighbour with a senior role in a law firm, but who she knew was also going through a messy divorce.
These were people. Real people with lives behind their roles. With hopes and fears, dreams and regrets, just trying to do their best.
People like us, who want to be seen and heard. Who want to feel secure and know that their lives have meaning and value. But our cultural default is to put on a mask. To hide. And we stop seeing and become separated.
Perhaps the first step in seeing others is to recognise our own masks. The ones we give ourselves.