Ego and Shadow
There is a perspective in which I totally get what you are saying. However, for me this does not fit the Zen perspective. Any story I tell about who or what I am is ego, yet another mask that I project out, but not for others, rather for ourselves. Even the idea that I am seeking approval is just another ego story, some idea of what I am. In self-observation I dis-identify with my masks, but like the thousand headed Hydra, each time I take off a mask another two appear — even the idea that I’m not that mask is a mask that needs to be let go. I can’t interact with the world w/o a mask, but I can stop believing it is me — allowing identity with my true nature.