I grew up—like many kids do—with a mum who was paranoid about other people knowing our business.
Whether it was about a holiday we had booked, or that we were moving house, or about an upcoming birthday party for one us; there was always that lingering knowing that I would have to keep my mouth shut.
Don’t tell anyone about this.
Keep it quiet.
When people find out, everyone will be gossiping.
And although I never got in “trouble” for opening my mouth, I did meet my mother’s disapproval; often. And every child who has ever wanted to be good and make their parents proud of them, will know that feeling isn’t a pleasant one.
But even back then, I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t see that I was doing something wrong.
I didn’t understand what difference it made, if someone knew our business or not. Even if word got out, and the whole town knew what we were doing and when, why did it matter?
Some people like to talk about other people’s lives, because they don’t have much going on in their own; or it makes them feel better about themselves. That will never change. But I’m happy to let those people get on with it. Gossip about me and my business, or don’t; but either way, it doesn’t really effect me or my life.
But my mum never saw it that way. She’s still in the of keeping truths as secrets.
The problem with growing up feeling like you have to constantly keep and censor your truth, is it’s a difficult habit to break out of.
So you learn to hide your truth away; from people you know, people you don’t, and even yourself.
It becomes uncomfortable to deal with; something you lock away in a secret box, that becomes increasingly terrifying to open.
And when you’re a writer, like me, keeping your truth becomes an impossible challenge that you must let go of if you want to master your craft.
Even after years of doing this for a living, I still find myself tensing up and afraid to open certain doors. Because I’m afraid of someone in my family reading something they believe shouldn’t be shared. And they’ll be angry or hurt.
But—whether you’re a writer or not—those doors must be opened, and whatever lies behind them must be explored. Because this is where your truth lives. This is where you’ll learn the power in being vulnerable. And this is also where you’ll do much healing and growing.
My message to you (and me) is this: Don’t be afraid to share your truth with the world.
Even if you’ve learned to hide them, to keep secrets, and treat everybody like someone who cannot be trusted with those truths.
It’s never too late to break yourself out of those learned habits.
And I promise you, there is nothing to be afraid of. As long as you show up authentically, and your intentions are good, then the positives far outweigh the potential negatives.
The real danger is when we hide it. When we view the truth as something that needs to be concealed or censored. Because we prevent ourselves from showing up authentically. We cut ourselves off from community and growth in our relationships. And we reinforce the idea that it’s okay to hide who we really are, what our life really looks like, and how we really feel.
This doesn’t just effect us. It effects everyone in our lives. Our family, our friends, our partners, and our children. When someone is not showing up authentically, it encourages others not to. And we become a world full of masked people, hiding our hearts.
So whether sharing your truths means writing an article and hitting publish, having a one to one conversation, or telling a story to a room full of people; you must get comfortable with the discomfort of sharing those things that lurk deep in your shadows.
I have learned not to worry about anyone knowing my business. In fact, I actively tell the world my business. Because I don’t really see it as my business. It’s no more than events, happenings, and moments that have occurred, or will occur in the future. It’s not a big deal, and I refuse to blow it up into one.
I tell the world my most intimate stories.
Not because I seek praise or understanding or revenge, but because it forces me to go to that deep place inside myself; that place where I still feel shame and regret and embarrassment around things that have occurred in my life. And that’s how I make sense of those feelings. That’s how I make peace with them.
And there’s always the small chance that the people who end up reading those stories will be able to release their own shame and regret and embarrassment, around similar experiences they have had. That they too, will be able to begin healing and find peace.
This is the power of facing and sharing your truth.
It might be scary. It will probably feel uncomfortable.