How deeply inside is your true self, the way you really think and feel hiding? Do you let others beneath the surface, or do you have carefully crafted walls to keep them out? Do you let others form relationships with the real you, or just a persona?
A persona is a person that you pretend to be that is not really you, much like a spy in the movies, except for most people the persona consists of faking their personality, rather than their passport.
If you pretend that you are happy when you are not, because that’s the way you are “supposed to be”, that is part of a persona. If you fake interest in something that you really couldn’t care less about, that is part of a persona. If you dress or act a certain way just to “fit in”, that’s part of a persona as well.
Virtually everyone has a persona… most people have more than one. They may have one for their spouse, one for their children, one for their friends, and one for their coworkers… or they may even have more than one for some of those categories, like different groups of friends, or boss versus peer.
Most people even have at least one persona for themselves, trying to fool even the one putting on the act. And your conscious mind can be fooled… you can completely convince it that you are someone other than who you really are. Your subconscious, on the other hand, cannot be fooled… it’s the one that is projecting the persona for your conscious mind.
These personas are intended for one thing, and one thing only… to keep the target from getting to the deeper part of who you are. The deeper part of who you are is where you are vulnerable, without your customary mental armor. It’s where you feel mental pain without the aid of a painkiller.
We see this part of us as the weak part, since it is vulnerable to pain. Because we see it as weak, and because it is our instinct to protect our weak spots, we bury it under layers and layers of mental armor, walls upon walls to keep others out. And then, because it is where we feel pain, we build walls to keep ourselves out, too.
That deep, vulnerable part of us, though, isn’t our source of weakness… it is our source of strength. It is where the strength to live our ordinary, day to day lives originates. It is where mental healing comes from… the pain that we feel is caused by the process of healing, just like muscles ache when you are healing from exercise.
When we wall it off, we stop the pain, at least somewhat, because we stop the healing… but the wound is still there, weakening us, draining our energy. Each of these wounds that we wall off drains a little more of the energy we need to heal and to go on with life, until we reach the point where our strength is failing.
When we reach that point, we no longer have the strength to maintain all of those walls… so one or more of them is going to come crashing down, bringing forth the pain it was holding back, but also the healing that is the source of that pain. Sometimes we just heal enough to rebuild the wall… other times we let that wall stay broken, and have a little energy back to get back to living. Sometimes we can even take that lesson and turn it on our other walls, breaking them down and letting loose the pain and the healing.
And, unfortunately, sometimes people let the pain drain the last bit of their energy and lose themselves in insanity or death.
You don’t have to let things get to that point, though, the point of failure. You can, instead, choose to take a good look at yourself, and choose parts of the persona you use on yourself to let go. You can choose to face some of the pain that you have walled away, letting the pain and the healing wash over you.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing… you can choose to face the pain one piece at a time. You can, if you choose, start with the smallest things first, or you may dive right in and start breaking down the oldest and thickest walls… the ones that hide the real, full power pain, the kind that leaves you feeling raw after it passes.
Each wall you break down, each pain that you face, brings hurt, yes, but healing also. This healing is no more instantaneous than that of sore muscles after a hard work-out, though… you’re going to have to allow yourself time to rest, and not expect an instant transformation from the depths of pain and suffering to zen-like calm and enlightenment. It takes time… you can notice a difference very quickly, but it will take some time, even up to years or decades, to overcome everything.
You have a choice, when you’re at that low point, of living in constant pain (and the negative emotions that come with it) that flares up at unpredictable times, causing chaos in your life, or opening yourself up to the pain directly and allowing the healing you have walled off with it to have its effect.
It’s a lot tougher choice than it might seem… you’ve mostly grown used to the way things are, and are comfortable with it, knowing what to expect, even if it is unpleasant. The stuff that is buried behind walls, on the other hand, is less familiar and more scary, especially because what you DO know is that it is going to bring that dull, constant ache up into your consciousness, where it expands to its full self… you know the pain is there, and are likely uncertain of the healing, unless you have let things go, broken down your walls, before.
How do you do it? How do you let go, and let the pain come, so that you can heal? People can deal with things in different ways, but one thing that is almost always effective is internal quiet. It has worked for me, and for everyone I know that has tried it… but some people I know have refused to do it because they are too afraid of the pain that they know will come.
Don’t be afraid… even though it hurts when you let it out, that pain is necessary to let the healing begin. Gather your courage, and let go… oddly enough, letting go is how you become anchored.