Your Secret Self

Someone recently asked me – What do you disclose about yourself to others, and what do you keep hidden?

They were trying to figure out how much of themselves, their life, to reveal to others through writing. They were not asking me the question seeking an answer, but more to know what my approach is, to get feedback, and, through that feedback, find their own answer. Which is the way to do it, because for every question we ask, although there are a multitude of answers, the only correct answer is the one which belongs to you, personally, deeply. Trust your intuition and instincts, they know what is right for you.

I asked myself a similar question when I started blogging, and using social media. For me, most of the answers to my questions reveal themselves in the doing. I do stuff, and then find out if it is right or wrong for me. I am an experimenter. I tend to learn things best the hard way, by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. Adapting, adjusting, changing, and transforming myself as I go along. Trying not to look back too often, although it is sometimes necessary and useful, but to keep moving forward, even when looking backwards. I sometimes trip over an obstacle when I do that, but I’m used to falling over, and I have a very hard head. Which is true in many ways.

I am very stubborn. I don’t tend to take advice from other people. Sure, I’ll listen to it, and consider its value, but advice is something which comes from someone else’s experience, coloured by their life, their perceptions, their fears and hopes, their mistakes, failures, and successes. They are unique. So am I. What applies to them, may well apply to me too, or not at all, the only way for me to find that out is to do it myself. Have my own experience. Create my own advice, for myself, rather than for others.

I remember reading a while ago some very striking words (uttered by the Dalai Lama, I think) – If someone offers you a gift, you do not have to accept it.

I grabbed that snippet of wisdom, and ran with it, applying it to everything. If someone asks you a question, you do not have to answer it. If someone offers you advice, you do not have to take it. If someone gives you a compliment or a criticism, you do not have to accept it. And so on, into infinity and beyond! It radicalised my experience of life, and of relationships. Stupidly, I always thought that I had to take whatever was offered to me, just in case it was the only thing I was ever offered, and because it was the polite thing to do.

So… If someone wants to know something about you, you do not have to reveal it. Reveal only that which you are comfortable revealing. The only time to reveal more than what you are comfortable with, is when you are challenging yourself to move beyond the limits you have set for yourself. Not because someone else wants you to do it. Especially not if their motives are shady, or inspired by idle, passing curiosity. Their motives may be pure, they may be genuinely interested in knowing more about you, if that is the case then they can probably find out what they want to know by observing you. We reveal everything that anyone needs to know about us all the time, in our words, in our expressions, in our gestures, in our interactions, etc. We leak our natures, like sweat, from every pore of our skin. Our energy expands far beyond our physical form, touching all that is around us. Those who care to know, can know. As for the others, they never really needed to know.

I do believe that we are here to share who we are with others. That is our purpose. To give of ourselves, our uniqueness, our energies, our natures. To inspire, interact, experience, and evolve through doing all of those, and through absorbing that which others share of themselves. But I also believe that we have to keep a part of ourselves a never to be revealed secret. Not a shameful secret, but as a haven, for those times when we lose ourselves, forget who we are, get overwhelmed by others. A place within where we can retreat to, to remember ourselves, to be who we are, uninfluenced, or intermingled with others. We are one and we are all. It is important to maintain that balance. To share and to not share.

If you were to reveal everything about yourself to another, there would be nothing left just for you. You would be completely transparent. No mystery to make the other wonder. And it is a very intricate part of life to maintain a certain air of mystery. We all love a secret smile. We all know what it means, without needing or wanting to know what inspired it. Such is life.

Also, as much as it seems desirable to have another person know and want to know everything about us, have you ever noticed how unnerving it is when someone does. Especially when someone seems to know more about us than we know ourselves. In those moments, do you ever think… they think they know everything about me, but I have a secret self whom they know nothing about and will never be able to find. Yes. No. Or is it just me.

I enjoy having a secret side to myself, and I enjoy sharing as much of me as I feel comfortable sharing. Sometimes I share a little more, to challenge myself, afterwards I usually retreat to my secret haven. For a while. Then, I reemerge once more from my me-cave, refreshed, ready to play with others again.

So, over to you… What do you disclose about yourself to others, and what do you keep hidden?

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6 thoughts on “Your Secret Self

  1. I love how you see things from different angles and perspectives. It gets my gears going and I crave that, learning is fun. I work in the health care field and help people recover from injuries, accidents etc. I have always believed that the majority of healing happens in the mental realm. Of course, you need to provide the skills and education for patients to be educated enough to know what to do etc. BUT that is such a small piece of the puzzle. This is what has always intrigued me about the body & mind connection. People do say the strangest things and it is so interesting to figure out what’s really going on and once trust is established & they know you care, the unlocking of the dynamics of their issues (secrets) becomes more apparent. Addressing this is where the real healing begins. I would say from my years working with people that one of the biggest things that people are afraid of is losing is control. Kind of interesting hmmm. Lack of control equates to fear and unfortunately some people then abuse this and create havoc on others lifes. At least we know where it comes from. We all want control, as it makes us feel safe.

    You are a natural healer. Even through these blogs, you are able to respond and understand a person’s perspective, without actually seeing or being near them. It’s pretty incredible really. You have a gift. Happy you can share it with others and me. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 I’m just doing my thing the way I do it.

      My mind likes to spin things around. I think it’s something which evolved from growing up around narcissists. At first it served one purpose, and then gradually it served another. And now it’s something which I enjoy doing, it keeps my mind and perception flexible, open to new ways of seeing.

      I love being able to see things from the point of view of others. It’s fun, but it is also useful when dealing with certain scenarios where an impasse may have been reached. I find that it helps to ease stressful situations and resolve conflicts by giving understanding.

      It’s true, control does seem to be a goal for a lot of people. I think because we equate control with having power. It’s a reaction to the uncertainty of chaos and the feeling of being powerless. Having the illusion of control over life, makes people feel safe, even if it also makes things feel restrictive.

      But with control also comes greater fear, because the more we believe that we have control, the more we fear losing it. Everything has to be just so. If something is a bit out of the parameters of our control, it threatens to make our house of cards tumble into disarray.

      Control is mostly the territory of the mind, and it narrows the mind, makes it more fragile and vulnerable. So we feel safer, but we are also more breakable.

      I think healing is about embracing the wound. We all have one (or more). Pain in many ways connects us with others, as it is something with which we can all relate. Feeling pain, being wounded is a part of our nature, when we accept our nature it eases the burden of pain, when we fight our nature, the pain increases because we fight the pain too and all it is trying to do is point out where we are hurting and where we need to take care of ourselves.

      We also all have the ability within us to transform our pain into something else, something which inspires, which is powerful in a personal way, that is our true power, not the one we get through being controlling, and that natural power reminds others that they also have personal power within them too. Which is what you do in your work.

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  2. Just loved this piece! I agree, it is good and necessary to have a secret inner world that is all your own. It is a part of one’s self that just is and really know one else’s business. We are complex beings and some stuff is not meant for sharing. I have most recently learned that I am becoming more curious of people who tend to share quickly, tell you or talk about very personal stuff & say things that I’d consider to be apart of my secret inner world. Why would you do this? What value does it have to share? Why would someone share something that appears more valuable to them than to me?

    In some ways when you meet people like this, it is intriguing and refreshing. They appear to be an open book. But what is striking is that they may tell you something you’d consider to be a secret before you know the basic things about who they are. You attempt to ground them to boring earthly conversations, and try to pry inside their basic world but this is only shared to a point. You feel something is hidden even though you know secrets about them that you’d never divulge to just anyone. The confusion begins. You then realize that you play along with this song & dance and delving deep seems to be boring to them or they are not interested in this. They are not able to go deep but this seems so strange as they have shared things that are deep. Or have they? The thing about all this is, even though I was told I was transparent, I really am not. I may appear to be from an outsider who wants in but I have my own private fortress too. I am so happy I do, as it has served me well most recently and in my life.

    I am parenting 3 children right now. I have always believed that children need their privacy and I am not divvy to all their goings, happenings, thoughts, dreams etc They are individuals, separate from me and in order to grow you must allow this independent transformation take place. I see many parents hovering and wanting to know all the in’s and outs of their kids affairs. How exhausting! I want my kids to naturally seek me out if they need something and to figure stuff out when they don’t need me. I hope they are learning that they can have secrets and that is OK. I will not intrude. I have most recently learned that people who have suffered severe intrusion in this realm, are left with severe and sometimes intractable wounds. Their secrets become bigger, more powerful and begin to transform into tools used to manipulate and maneuver through life. It becomes a source of pain versus peace. In the end it begins to taint the goodness of life and the goodness of others. The me-cave can then become a prison versus a place to restore and reenergize oneself.

    I also enjoy my secret self and my me -cave. It’s fun to think about this stuff, thanks!

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Interactions, though at times they appear to be straightforward, are complex, even the simple ones we do every day, whether they are casual or deeper. Like say if you buy something from a shop, the short interaction you have with the person at the cash register is not as simple as it seems. They have a whole world of self going on within them just as you do. So if they’re rude to you, it could be for a million different reasons. The same goes for if they are really helpful and nice. There’s a whole world of experience and reality which they are carrying around and living in, as are you.

      People sometimes say the strangest things… but maybe those things are only strange to us because they’re not part of our usual language. To them those strange things are ordinary, and maybe they think we’re strange for not using the same language as they do.

      So, something I consider to be a secret is someone else’s version of a not-secret. And vice versa.

      Then there are other factors. Some people think out loud, they talk to work things through and they need to do it in conversation with other people. Some people only talk once they’ve thought something through, most of the conversation goes on inside of them in the privacy of their minds. Some people think in images, some verbally, therefore they will express themselves differently because their thinking style will affect their verbal style.

      It’s a fascinating subject. And we are all so much more than anyone will ever know, perhaps even than we will ever know.

      I love thinking about this kind of stuff, it’s my favourite thing to do 🙂

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