I am a somewhat public person who greatly values privacy.
Privacy is not the same thing as secrecy.
Someone once pointed out to me that when I die countless secrets will die with me. I guess at a level that is true. But whenever I am sitting with someone and they share something with me that they had been holding in secrecy the release of energy is palpable. When they say what they have feared to say to another living being, and I do not run shrieking from the room, the relief is beyond description. The knotted energy of the secret is untied in the telling. The shroud of shame is vaporized in a moment of vulnerability. What had seemed so solid and insurmountable is neutralized by the simple act of giving it voice.
Being seen, heard, felt, received in an honoring and loving way can dislodge decades of shame and ensuing secrecy. Secrecy and dishonesty have an amplifying effect on whatever is being withheld. Shame metastasizes in a petri dish of secrecy. It needs to be spilled out, so to speak. It needs to be shared. It needs to be voiced. The adage that we are sick as our secrets is true. It is hideously true. And the release of those secrets can be terrifying.
Having said all that these secrets must be shared with a person that has done enough of their own work to receive the sharing. I have watched and internally winced as I have listened to waterfalls of what amounted to inappropriate disclosure. Telling a mere acquaintance about your darkest encounters is not what I am recommending. That is not the kind of context that has a restorative effect. Empathy and compassion are essential elements from the listener. People whom we meet and then within moments we know of their addictions and abuse are not connected to the content of their sharing. And so, it cannot be met with a deep level of listening. It is the flip side of secrecy.
The more connected we are to our inner experience the more discerning we may be with what needs to be shared and with whom. The more intimate we are internally the privier we are to the toxicity of the secrets we are holding. The more aware and accepting we are of our own emotional landscape the more we can differentiate between privacy and secrecy. This always leads to greater self-honesty and expanding self-compassion. From this we realize what it is that needs to be voiced, and we discern who has earned the right to hear it.
Who has earned the right to hear it.
That was a hard and tormenting lesson for me.
I felt the pressure cooker of shame and secrecy was soon to explode and so I shared things with people who I never should have shared with. I trusted those who were indeed not trustworthy. It was a painful yet well learned lesson.
I now have a few people who have demonstrated that they are trustworthy to hear what I need to share. I rest assured that they will hear what I need to say and not hold me to the current content as being my ultimate truth. The best listeners are those who make no attempts to change or to fix what I am sharing. They simply hold me in their hearts. They know that ours is a sacred contract. That by our giving voice to that which we might prefer to be hidden we heal, and we become free. It is a shared privacy that breaks the bondage of secrecy. The sickness was in the secrecy. The healing is in the sharing.
So, I am a somewhat public person who greatly values privacy.
I do not value secrecy. And I do not confuse the two.
Many secrets will die with me, but they are not my secrets.
Many of what were my secrets died with the confidants who are no longer on the planet. I would be a much sicker person if it had not been for the safety and empathy they provided. I thank and praise them regularly. And I pay my appreciation forward by being a safe space for those who choose to trust me with their hearts and secrets. Together we share and cry and laugh and tell and become free in the liberation of honesty and trust. And the sickness of secrecy is abated. And we are healed. And we are free.
One of my greatest joys is where your secrecy meets my privacy.
Your secrets are safe with me.