All the times that I people-pleased to try to make bad people go away.
All the times that I tried to fix everything bad that ever seemed to be happening.
All the times that I tried to appear to be innocent and yet was acting like a victim.
All the times that I tried to look pleasing to others so that they would maybe not hurt me.
All the times that I thought I had to give others what they wanted, and that I was not inherently wanted in a loving way - only in terms of what others wanted to take from me.
There was even a time in my life that was especially low where I felt so bad about myself, such low self 'esteem', ie shame and unworthiness, that I believed I did not deserve any love, and that the only people who would 'want me' were those who wanted to use me or take from me or have me be a slave to. It was tremendously disempowering.
Ultimately this was all because I had such a strong belief that my personas (personii?), were actually capable of IMPROVING my life, making things more palatable, protecting me or defending me from what I did not want. I wanted to simply shut out all the bad icky stuff and focus solely on the good stuff.
And I remember actually believing that I was becoming 'very spiritual' by rejecting even the everyday egos of other people, which I relegated and judged and condemned for 'being ego' or 'being selfish' etc. This sort of twisted double-edged idea of spirituality arose out of this in my late teens where I was simultaneously terrified and hounded by scary stuff in my mind, while thinking that I was also having deep spiritual insights. And maybe I was in a way, but it was strongly dualistic, and my mind was very split. There was a 'rift' in my life, a strong sense of separation, and that persona of exalted, lofty specialness, really holier-than thou, simultaneously felt like I was approaching death.
I used the persona to get rid of and attack everything that I was against, believing that what I 'kept' was all good and acceptable and allowed. BUT, the more that I got rid of... and believe me I included a LOT of stuff in the list of what I rejected, way above and beyond normal classifications (ie most of the world), the more what I had LEFT OVER got smaller and smaller. The more I found myself in a hole of isolation and loneliness. And the more I became depressed. I felt like this impending sense of everything coming to an 'end'. My whole reality just felt like it was saturated with a sense of impending doom, with no way out. Because I was hiding in the persona and not being authentic at all, even though I felt justified by my pain.
I was repressing so much and rejecting so much, perhaps in attempt to heal myself of strong wounds, which I had projected onto everyone else, that I was perhaps trying to find a way to get away from it all and at least 'fake' that I was healing, as a starting point. Very much fortunately, things gradually started to turn around at that point, massively fuelled by my meeting my beloved wife who came into the darkness like an angel of light. Then the healing commenced.
Now, looking back, I can see how my entire time was spent choosing the persona, putting on a fake image, trying to give people what they wanted, trying to please, trying not to upset anyone, trying to maintain status quo or 'peace' by never asserting myself or standing out, etc. It was a rough lesson! And all of that resisting, all of that... rejecting of life... merely diminished my own. Now I am learning that using the persona at all is an attack on myself. It is a way to buy into the belief that I need to cover myself up because there's something wrong with me. As self-love increases - genuine honest God-shared love - so too does the need for these masks diminish.
I am seeing clearer and clearer that all of the confidence, all of the fearlessness, all of the certainty, all of the clarity and strength, that I thought I was going to find by using rejection, separation, persona denial, etc... are actually already IN ME... it was being denied BY the use of the persona. I just needed to learn WHERE the truth is, what WHAT the truth is. I was looking in the wrong place for my whole life - outside of me, and was rejecting myself the entire time.
Now I see that if you stand with yourself in your truth and don't reject yourself, you don't even NEED any of the persona masks, because you already HAVE what God has given you, you already ARE powerful and safe and strong. You don't need to hide from people, because you are unconditionally loving yourself. You're saying, I'm going to ALWAYS be real, true and honest, in all situations and with all people. I am ALWAYS going to come from unconditional love no matter what. And in that, you not only drop all of the efforts to 'get rid of bad stuff', you also drop all of the efforts to 'choose only the good stuff'. And along with that goes all sense of depending on, or caring about, what anyone else thinks of you or what you do. It is a freedom. In a sense, an independence - being set free from the energy-sucking vampire that the ego is and being AVAILABLE now to God, to allow Him to live through you.
It wasn't getting rid of bad stuff that made my life better. Trying to do that made it worse. Accepting myself fully is the goal.
It's not where I thought life would go. But this is where it is heading for all of us. Back to our true selves. Back to love.