Privacy vs. Secrecy: A Boost or Bust for Finding Closeness

Much as we may struggle to admit it, we all have needs: real, legitimate, have-a-right-to-have-them needs. One of these needs is for intimacy, for closeness. Another need, it turns out, is to have privacy. It’s not hard to imagine that these two can be tricky to weave together. The fly in the ointment lies in our confusion between privacy and secrecy. Because when the two concepts of privacy and secrecy get cross-wired, closeness and intimacy become impossible.

Privacy, then, is not a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. We need to have some time to be by and with ourselves. We need some me-time to dive into the depths of our interior, without being disturbed by even the most favorable vibes from our pals. Beyond this, sometimes we need some space to allow something we essentially desire to share with our loved ones to ripen, whether it’s an artistic creation or a new insight or awareness. Some stuff just needs a chance to complete itself before we open it up to others. Hence, having some privacy is a legitimate soul need.

The periods of privacy we’re talking about here are not the same as isolating or staying separate. In this case, a state of aloneness is a necessary means for finding more of ourselves. But of course, we all have a knack for also distorting any divine quality into its diabolical counterpart. And that’s what happens when we seek privacy in order to avoid the anxiety created by contact. At that point, we’ve waded into distortion doo-doo.

Many of us completely miss this point that we have a need for some privacy.

Many of us completely miss this point that we have a need for some privacy. Being oblivious to this reality, we may find ourselves alone—perhaps through circumstances beyond our control—and then immediately set about cluttering up our inner landscape with noise. Surface thoughts, loud music, perpetual input—all these effectively avoid the deep inner contact our souls are craving. This can be one reason people gravitate to living in crowded conditions: they’re producing an outer reason to avoid inner aloneness. Other people living in such conditions may manage to find their happy place despite the busyness that surrounds them.

Oddly, when people keep to themselves out of fear of contact with others, they are really primarily afraid of themselves; fear of self is the primary fear, followed by a fear of contact with others. Being alone then won’t fill the bill of the need for privacy. In such cases, we don’t come any closer to knowing or liking ourselves, just as we likely then won’t forge true intimacy or contact with others when we take the opportunity to spend time with them.

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So where does secrecy come in? First, let’s be clear that the kind of secret we’re talking about here is different from when we keep a lovely surprise party under wraps. In that case, we’re planning all along to joyfully reveal the “secret.” No, real secrets are never good because they are always hiding something negative. Otherwise they wouldn’t be kept secret. The most surprising thing about secrets is the way we like to overlook this important fact.

Take apart any secret and we’ll find the wish to hide something that we think will be unpalatable to someone. Either we want to keep something in hiding ourselves, or someone else wants us to help them keep something destructive hidden.

If we would reveal our secrets, we could deal with them. They could be dissolved and replaced with beautiful, positive creations. But when we keep things secret, we incubate our negative thoughts, nurture dishonest behaviors and sustain destructive ways of behaving.

And it’s not like we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re perfectly well aware of our charades and shenanigans—otherwise, once again, we wouldn’t be keeping them a secret. To get all self-righteous about our bad behavior is really absurd. But that’s about the time we trot out our “need for privacy,” using it as a camouflage for our real intention, which is to keep things covered up in secrets. This is what secretive people do. And that’s how the forces of darkness worm their way into our living rooms, banking on our confusion and handing us a truth to use in covering up a lie. They’re good at what they do, and too often we fall for it.

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Nothing that is true and beautiful ever needs to be kept a secret. Not ever.

Nothing that is true and beautiful ever needs to be kept a secret. Not ever. So something that is divinely inspired will ripen in privacy and then unfold when the time is right—it’s never meant to be kept hidden. Secrets, on the other hand, are just the opposite, where we feel a need to hide our lies, dishonesty and destructiveness from others.

We may rationalize our secrets by saying, “If I reveal myself, I won’t be understood,” or “People will criticize me unfairly.” But that’s really taking things out of bounds. Because in truth, when we’re in truth, we won’t let possible misunderstandings from others justify the erection of impenetrable walls of secrecy. No, when we’re standing in truth—or attempting to get to the bottom of it—we’ll make an effort to help others understand. Further, we can use their pushback or criticism as an excavating tool to dig more deeply into the reality of a situation we might otherwise keep secret.

What’s happening when we keep secrets is that we fear we’re not in truth. Better yet, we often know we’re not but we have no intention of changing. So then we’re really being dishonest, since we know that others wouldn’t react kindly to seeing what is hidden. And that’s what we are trying to avoid. So we want their love and respect, but we have a sneaking suspicion we won’t be able to earn it if they see what’s behind the curtain.

In the final analysis then, keeping secrets is akin to theft. We’re cheating as a way to secure a result that won’t come if we disclose our secret. And hey, we also sort of like the way it keeps things lopsided. We don’t have to work at finding equitable, honest solutions that allow others to participate in the party.

That’s how secrets become such killjoys for relationships. And that’s why secretive people are never emotionally fulfilled. We build walls of separation that are plastered over with secrets, and then wonder why we feel alone and so very misunderstood. Folks, we need to put two and two together. Usually, we make things add up worse by blaming others for the state we’re in: “I’m so worried about their reaction, I have to keep things secret. It’s their fault.” Nothing justifies bad behavior like good ol’ blame. It doesn’t occur to us to spill out all our secrets and make ourselves transparent. And of course, this isn’t a quick fix or an easy thing to do. We need to bring all the patience, discernment and goodwill we can muster to this task.

Sometimes we’re just afraid of exposing ourselves. Fear whispers in our ear, “If they see the real me, they won’t love me.” Such reasoning has one little problem: it blatantly ignores the facts. For starters, we might be assuming that love, respect and approval from others outweighs the importance of our own. So not true. What’s more, we may fail to see how the courage and honesty required for transparency—no matter what shameful things we’re sitting on and needing to reveal—create way more self-esteem than any secretiveness could ever dream of. And if we start to love ourselves, love from others will follow.

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When we follow a spiritual path, we are on a direct mission to eliminate all our secrets. First up: stop hiding things from ourselves. We keep our conscious minds in the dark—a lot. We need to realize just how much material we’re ignoring, sticking it away in our unconscious where it breeds and multiplies. Once we start to develop a habit of being more honest with ourselves, we’ll naturally begin to drop the veils between ourselves and others. If we continue in this way, we’ll find it’s the only way to be. It’s the way to fulfill our need for contact and to live without fear and anxiety hanging over our heads. Ah, the relief of living without shame and hiding, without pretenses and façades. That, my friends, is a headier stuff than any two-bit secret.

When we follow a spiritual path, we are on a direct mission to eliminate all our secrets. First up: stop hiding things from ourselves.

So when we find ourselves sitting with suspicious opinions or accusations about someone, we need to pause and notice how we want to secretly nurse them—or worse yet, share them with someone who will hold our secret with us. All this we need to bring into the open. Doing so shows that our desire to be in truth exceeds our negative thoughts. It will become an organic process on our spiritual path to always search for the particular truth of any situation, and this will always bring us peace—if we are committed to real, unifying truth above all else.

Wanting to keep our secrets alive, however, clearly indicates that we are not yet committed to the truth—including the truth that we get off on maintaining this kind of negativity. On top of this, we want to continue our evil ways precisely because we already know we’re not in truth and we don’t want to admit this. And don’t be fooled by those making loud, public accusations as though this is an indication of their openness. Such displays may merely be acts of hostility and aggression covering up a motive to still harbor negative opinions.

It’s also important to realize that when we hold negative things in secret, we also keep a lid on revealing the best in ourselves. The lid of secrecy is one-size-fits-all, so when it’s on we begin to feel embarrassed about our best ourselves. Our dreams and innermost desires will feel shameful.

The belief that there is anything to hide is what rolls in a fog that eventually covers up our greatness. So inherently positive aspects become shrouded in negativity whenever we are clinging to secrecy. We may discover, once the fog lifts, that our talents and gifts are part of what is being hidden. Until then, they may feel unworthy simply because they are being hidden.

As we make our way along our spiritual path—regardless of which path we’re on—we need to gather the courage to expose everything we’ve been hiding. We will never regret making this step. It will usher in the freedom of no longer pretending in any way, and the clarity that comes from this will bring us straight to self-esteem—oh right, that thing we were hoping to get through our hiding.

The real way to reveal ourselves is by following the will of God, and then we need to let go of the results. Any rules about revealing don’t rest with how others will react. It’s possible we’ll find at first that our self-revealing brings on criticism and censure, more so than love and understanding. We need to practice, practice, practice. Because somehow we have may have revealed ourselves in a distorted way. We can also let our revealing mirror our messed-up patterns back to us. The reaction from others can give us valuable information for reconsidering those same aspects in ourselves, now that we can see them more clearly.

The false way to go about self-revealing is to childishly say, in the warped way of the Lower Self: “If I share my secrets with you, no matter how destructive they may be, I demand you approve of me. If you don’t, I’ll accuse you of letting me down, and I will use this as proof that it doesn’t pay to be transparent.” We need to be careful about giving ourselves credit for opening up if we’re going to do it in such a way. We want to make sure we sincerely desire to be in truth and in alignment with God’s will.

Whoa Nelly, isn’t it possible that others will leverage our openness as a way to violate our privacy? Indeed, others may try to pry into our business based on their own negative motives, hoping to uncover something they can use against us to make themselves feel better—all in a desperate attempt to prop up their own flagging self-esteem. When we sense this is happening, we need to call on our own discernment and re-secure our borders. The tricky part is to distinguish actual prying from genuine concern when we’re still in the business of keeping our own secrets. As long as we have a stake in hiding, our perceptions will be shaky at best.

Think of transparency as the new black; it’s a habit that looks good on everyone.

Think of transparency as the new black; it’s a habit that looks good on everyone. But we’ll need some patience and perseverance to wear it well. And we’ll need to devote ourselves to learning this fine art. Sure, we’re going to be hesitant at first, but our inhibitions will evaporate the more we learn to express ourselves, conveying what at first we didn’t think we could ever get across. It’s like trying to tell someone a dream. At first it seems almost impossible, but as we get rolling, we find we can explain it quite adequately.

When left inside the four walls of our minds, our thoughts, attitudes and feelings seem so vague. We think they are so unexplainable we don’t attempt to convey them. But once we gain a smidge of confidence that we can do this—we can articulate our experience, even if we can’t capture every little nuance—we’ll be surprised at how well we can make ourselves clear. If we’re willing to open up, we can reach others who may have the same inner experience. And in that way, we can connect emotionally more quickly than we ever suspected.

The point is, communication is essential to self-revealing. If we want to be open, effort will be required. But the rewards are fantastic. That stuff that appeared embarrassing only seemed so because we didn’t believe we could find the proper words. Try—the words will come. Discovering a new and wonderful way of expressing ourselves is a huge booster shot for our sense of adequacy. If we sincerely want to reveal ourselves, we need to open up our willingness to let God inspire us. Then the appropriate words will flow and the walls we have built around ourselves will disappear.

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Living in complete openness is the goal for any relationship: intimate partnerships, friendships, business colleagues, and even relationships between countries. For the new man and new woman who enter into a more evolved way of being in relationship, they will no longer keep secrets. Such behavior is simply not compatible with the newly emerging way of consciously relating. Secrets will feel like the unbearably heavy burden they are. In fact, the more our consciousness is infused with the Christ spirit, the more quickly we will want to dissolve such a burden, in whatever is the most productive and creative way possible.

In addition to the outer secrets, we need to be on the lookout for the more subtle inner ones. This means we need to be willing to take a risk to lay everything on the table, without which the bliss of relationship can’t materialize anyway. The problem is our false belief that we’re not good enough. We have to keep challenging this, over and over, every time it surfaces. Each time, we take a little more risk, until everything is out in the open. Then ongoing communication can be established.

Like an engine in which gunk builds up over time, we’re going to find some residual crud in the pipes. Once we clear out the sludge though, making all of ourselves known, a new process will automatically take over. Our souls are not fixed, static things; we’re constantly changing and moving, producing new inner vistas and visions. With whistle-clean pipes, we’ll be in good shape to share what emerges with our loved one. Such transparency then is our path to utter joy.

With whistle-clean pipes, we’ll be in good shape to share what emerges with our loved one. Such transparency then is our path to utter joy.

When it comes to our friendships, we don’t do them justice if we feel there is anything we must keep hidden. For then we’ll never know if we are loved and accepted. If we fail to take the risk of showing our friends all that we are—all that we have kept hidden—we’ll remain in fear and distrust. We need to be willing to look at our Lower Self goals—which are always primarily to keep us in separation—and trust that our Higher Self aim for connection will carry us through. If trust is what we lack, we can start by sharing that.

Even the interactions between countries are often enormously impacted by secretiveness. To be sure, there is more hiding and pretense there than in any other relationship. Openness is often simply not considered a viable option for governments of different countries. Opaqueness, it is believed, makes for sound diplomacy.

In this area, humanity has fallen far off the pace of where we could and should be, although other areas also leave something to be desired. Consider how people in a marriage often keep secrets, not just about the past but also about present-day thoughts and feelings. Look at how this correlates to the failure of so many marriages. Yet most marriages are better off than the interrelationships between countries, which are often mired in distrust, strife and deceit. We need a whole new game plan if we’re hoping for peace to break out around the world. Then we will be able to share God’s riches. Otherwise justice and brotherhood will remain empty words.

Just as individuals need to go through the painstaking process of learning to be open, so must countries. But what’s the alternative? We can’t get to peace and harmony any other way. It’s like trying to live life while projecting a false version of ourselves, basically saying, “Please see me only as I pretend to be.” It’s going to be hard to forge an authentic, trusting connection on top of that.

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Can you visualize a world in which no one ever hides anything from anyone? Ever? Would that not be paradise? What stops us is 1) our fear of risking rejection if the other saw our real self (we are secretly terrified that our Lower Self makes us all bad), 2) our unfamiliarity with how to communicate so we are understood (we must be willing to learn to do this, baby step by baby step), and 3) our fear of being insanely invulnerable if all our hard shells fall off (secrets are among the hardest layers surrounding our souls).

What’s the common denominator of these three factors? Our resistance to going to God with all of ourselves—to trusting his will. Instead, we let the dark forces grab us and inspire us to trust in whatever keeps us separate. We mistakenly think that’s code for “safe.” We’ve got to wake up and see that this is no way to live. We desperately need to start challenging this logic; we have to choose new behaviors and seek new solutions.

A few final thoughts about the third factor: vulnerability. There’s more to this than feeling less protected without our secrets, which is in fact an out-and-out illusion—and actually an easy one to spot once we crank up the courage to get over ourselves. But there’s also another kind of vulnerability.

We’re going to find that as we open up, new capacities for perception will grow in us. We’ll experience clarity about many areas of life that were vague and murky before. If we’re not looking for this though, we’ll miss it, because too much fog and darkness still cling to the edges of our reality.

But wait, there’s more. At first blush, this one may not look like a winner. Our emerging sense of vulnerability may bring with it a grieving pain regarding the destruction that results from evil in our midst. It’s OK to let this develop, to experience this fully, however it manifests. It’s actually a healthy pain that arises when we see God’s gifts squandered—when, for example, nature is willfully destroyed.

We may feel this pain about the suffering of animals who, as part of fulfilling their function in the greater life cycle, become prey for other animals. Certainly this is much less hurtful than the suffering inflicted on animals by indifferent or cruel humans, but nonetheless, it is painful that animals must go through this phase in their own evolution, even as there is an intrinsic rightness about this. These animals are aspects of consciousness which have incarnated to have these experiences, but there is an innocence there that causes us to feel pain for them.

So why must we open to feeling this kind of pain that arises from our compassion and gratitude for the beauty of creation? Because this soft pain—which is so different from our neurotic, self-punishing, victimy pain—is a threshold to feeling joy and ecstasy. It’s by opening to this pain that we recognize that untrue thoughts about any of our fellow humans is as damaging to ourselves as it is to others. When we malign others or hold onto unwarranted suspicions, we impose unfair disadvantages on them. We make them our prey.

When we malign others or hold onto unwarranted suspicions, we impose unfair disadvantages on them. We make them our prey.

As long as we deny this pain, we pay a higher and higher price. For this pain must eventually turn against whoever is inflicting it—or against whoever colludes with others by passively standing by. We have to let ourselves know and feel this pain instead of following the dark forces into a blind alley where we pretend we don’t see the pain we cause another. When we do that, debilitating guilt is sure to follow us and then self-punishment heaps onto that. Our compassion and willingness to simply see the pain that exists in this world will make us whole again.

Then, when the secrets and their walls of separation fall away, we can step into a beautiful world of light and goodness, of singing joy and fearless existence. Such a world can only exist in a defenseless person who has taken off their armor and no longer denies the soft underbelly of vulnerability. Hardening against the pain of all the suffering surrounding us—caused by our cooperation with the forces of evil—has the direct effect of blocking the joy that is meant to be ours for all of eternity.

If we are willing, we can harness the power of the forces of light and become an even stronger fighter for good. The blessings of all the angels accompanies each one of us, enriching and guiding our lives. The presence of Christ is alive in our hearts and souls, if we will only see and feel it. Our whole reason for being on this planet is to find our true being and fulfill ourselves through God. We can come alive through him.

 

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