February 28, 2012
What do we gain by keeping secrets? It seems sometimes in human interactions we communicate with each other in an intricate dance that is designed specifically to reveal as little truth as possible. We can’t speak the truth, we can’t ask the truth. Why is it so hard to be real with each other? Is it really a failure to be real with ourselves?
Is the majority of what we believe about ourselves true, or imagined? I wonder if we are like authors of our own life story, caught up in an imaginary world based loosely on fact. Even if that imaginary land is completely real to us, we can’t let the people around us even into that fictitious existence we have created. So instead we keep every interaction as close to the surface as possible.
But why? In some cases it is surely because the truth is too painful to speak. In other cases it is because we are afraid of being judged. Probably in others it is because we judge ourselves so harshly. People won’t understand, people don’t care, my successes and struggles aren’t important, I don’t need to be the center of attention…the list of reasons or excuses could go on and on.
God created each and every one of us with tender places. When we look at another human, whether our waitress, a salesperson, or someone we call friend, we should be able to recognize the same frailty which dwells in us. If we can accept that about every soul we encounter, shouldn’t it be easier to be our genuine selves?
We need, all of us, to feel connected. We should strive to reveal our naked selves to people, starting with whoever makes us most comfortable. Our children, mate, friend…who is out there that we trust enough to begin to tear down the many-layered façade of fiction we dress ourselves in so carefully? As we begin with those people and encounter loving acceptance, it becomes easier to let others in. We do not need to live in a self-regulated den of isolation. The poignancy of life can only be experienced when we open ourselves – the good and the bad, our truth and our fiction – to God and to others. The more we share the more we will understand. Our feelings connect to our actions, our past connects to our future. We are able to grow and thrive as a result of understanding, the kind we gain from sharing self.