I think optimal mental health and happiness and well-being and all that stuff ultimately comes down to accepting yourself, as you are. Loving yourself. Forgiving yourself. Ultimately, embracing yourself.
But we all need love. We all need someone outside of ourselves to see us and validate us. And that's where we run into trouble. In trying to be more loveable to the world, sometimes we become less loveable to ourselves. Or we compartmentalize and split ourselves into personalized boxes for displaying the appropriate characteristics, the appropriate slices of ourselves, to the appropriate audience, at the appropriate time. In earning love, we lose our natural congruence, our natural sense of wholeness, our carefully cultivated self-love. We gain an appreciative audience but we lose ourselves.
And that's part of who we are, too. As much as any of our core beliefs or our biological needs or our hopes and dreams. We need to put on the show and capture others to our cause. It's part of our evolutionary heritage and without it, our species would be destroyed.
I think people with more trauma and less support in their lives learn to split at an early age. They learn to play parts and build walls throughout their inner homes. They know how to go from room to room and be that which they need to be to play to whatever audience stands in front of them. I think they can forget the other rooms sometimes. I think they can close entire rooms off and they can remodel and they can do what needs doing. They get caught up in the job of external pleasantry and they keep their secret rooms for their secret selves.
Even those close to them, even those worthy of them, never see the whole house. And I think they realize, at those moments when they're showing their inner circle audience the most secret of rooms, they catch a glimpse of what it means to be a whole person. But they forget that it's just one or several rooms of many, all valid, all true, all pieces parts of the whole. And when those they trust the most, acting on the limited tour they've had, fail to know what's in the other rooms, they think that no one can ever know them. They call it a failure. They believe that there's no point in showing secret rooms because it always turns out badly. Because they had such hope and they shared such personal things and they thought, maybe, someone could finally see the truth of them, that they could find a way to be whole on the inside and the outside and still have love. But it doesn't happen. Because one room is only one room. One secret room does not reveal all the rest. Trusting someone to love one room does not give them magic insight into the rest.
All the walls have to come down. That's the only way. If they could break down all the walls and stand naked before the world, then they could be whole. And it's terrifying because it's true, then, that most of their audience be shocked and appalled and hurt and unhappy and cruel and disappointed and would drift away. Some of their audience would stay a while to gawk or throw rocks or laugh or cry. Some would be angry because they were tricked. Some would leave. Or maybe none. Or maybe most. Or maybe all. It's hard to say. But in time, the audience ebb and flow and come to settle into something new. And then, looking out, standing there would be the face of love. Maybe new faces, maybe old ones, maybe all mixed together. But only love would stay to watch the show when the walls come down.