Happy relationships must include the ability to express ourselves freely. Humans naturally crave freedom of expression, to be what we are, to express what we feel, to say what we think. However, this natural drive for spontaneous expression can become hidden, sometimes to the point that we're not consciously aware of it ourselves.
One reason for this is that society places constraints on our freedom to express, and slowly it becomes second nature to craft our expressions in what we think will be socially acceptable patterns. These patterns are different for different situations, and so we learn to play various roles, which has the effect of suppressing our spontaneous impulses in favor of predictable behaviors appropriate to the given role.
We tend to act differently toward the various people in our lives, and we do this for various reasons. We usually prefer not to offend others, and so certain behaviors, opinions and topics are avoided with certain people. We often have an image we wish to project, or a need we want the other to fulfill or a change we wish to produce in the other, and all of these require that we craft our expression in a particular way that may have little or nothing to do with how we feel or what we actually think.
Much of this role playing is inherent in the way our societies work, and so to a large extent it is unavoidable. We don't relate to our children the same way we relate to our spouse, or our boss, or the grocer. I mean only to point out the ways in which our natural freedom of expression is suppressed, and how this leads to a need for at least some of our relationships to allow us the space to be ourselves, and this is usually in the form of close friendships or intimate partners.
It would be safe to say that strong happy relationships cannot form if they don't allow us to express who we actually are. You'll likely find that the relationships you value most do precisely that, and the more you find it necessary to wear some kind of mask for others, the more strongly you will feel the need for a happy relationship in which you can relax and throw away all the masks and be yourself.
Clearly, if this freedom of expression is what you value for yourself, it's also what your partner values, and in order for that to happen, self love, acceptance, and the absence of need and expectation are necessary. This allows for the trust and space in which we feel free to express ourselves fully, and more often than not, joyfully.
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