Have you ever experienced a moment where you felt hesitant to share something that occurred in your past?
Come on, you know what I’m talking about.
Those incidents and experiences where we’ve done something silly, awful, embarrassing, regretful or whatever it happens to be. These things aren’t always things we’ve done by choice either, they could be things that others have done to us, or maybe it involves things from our family history that we’re not proud of.
Regardless of what these things are, they’re usually the last bits of information we choose to divulge when we’re hanging out with friends, socializing with coworkers, or talking even to close friends.
Sharing can bring people closer because it involves trust, vulnerability, and honesty.
We’re only as sick as our secrets, and only as big as the things we hide behind.
People look at us funny for saying we’re seeing a therapist, why is that? Do people ever question going to a doctor to treat a physical illness? So why do people have different reactions for mental and emotional wounds that need healing? I have a Jewish friend who was raised in Upper East Side Manhattan. Today she told me that she thought going to therapy was great, and didn’t understand why people sometimes people thought negatively of the idea.
I often share a great many things from my past with people that I don’t really know. At one point, I realized that as I was overcoming addictions, vices, and all sorts of bad behavior, I liked to talk about it with my friends. The level of detail I shared was pretty uncommon. A few years ago I asked a very good friend of mine if what I talked about made him uncomfortable sometimes. His response was so great, it was honest and came from a place of respectful trust with each other.
“Yes, but I understand that’s just who you are.”
I feel like if I can pass anything along to someone else that may benefit from a lesson learned from my past, then that’s more than enough reason to share with complete, unabashed honesty. In the process, I accept that some people are going to hear more than they would prefer; my apologies.
One of my best friends and I met on a bus while traveling to Seattle. She remembers how I told her about my child molesting father in the first ten minutes of our conversation. Not typical discussion points for a casual bus ride.