Reminder: last time, I began an exploration into what it means to conceal less, reveal more. This exploration was initiated in large part due to a discussion with a mentor who made it very clear that “What you conceal cannot be healed.”
Yes, you heard me: fear.
It’s what comes up, for me at least, whenever I’m in a situation that triggers feelings I don’t want others to see.
Keep in mind, when I talk about revealing more, I’m talking mostly about allowing ourselves to feel feelings in the moment vs stuffing them down or pretending everything is fine when, on the inside, it’s not.
Let’s brainstorm. What is it that makes revealing so scary, so perilous?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far; add in your particular fears as well.
- being mocked or laughed at.
- being abandoned.
- you seeing how insecure I feel.
- not being liked.
- being seen as small-minded. If I let you know what I really think or feel, you might hate me.
- letting you know the things that are particularly hurtful for me. Being afraid of the control that may give you over me. You know my secret; you can now hurt me at will. (So freaking scary!)
- losing our connection or our friendship.
- you not talking or sharing your thoughts with me anymore.
- looking stupid or weak (for crying, feeling hurt, etc).
There are also many reasons to conceal. For instance:
- To appear accepting and non-judgmental.
- To appear strong and secure – you can’t hurt me.
- To protect myself – refer to the last post for more on this theme.
- To hide the effect your words have on me – so you don’t know how much power you have over how I feel.
- To maintain a friendship. If I let you know what I really think of your actions or words, our friendship may end.
Looking at my lists, I’m pretty easily convinced that concealing is the way to go. And, that’s how I’ve lived for most of my life.
I’m also convinced that there is truth in “What you conceal cannot be healed.”
For instance, the more I concealed and repressed my feelings and pretended they didn’t exist, the stronger they became.
The concealing didn’t take them away, didn’t transform them, heal them, or make them easier to deal with.
Instead, they simply became stronger and stronger until the day came when they completely overwhelmed me and I had no choice but to feel them and express them.
Not a situation I would wish on anyone.
Often, when these overwhelming, unwanted feelings arise, *we* don’t even know what is at the root of what we feel.
We just know we feel hurt – or whatever your emotion is that you tend to hide when it arises – maybe anger? or jealousy? sadness? shame? anxiety? depression?… there are plenty to choose from!
Here’s the thing: These feelings we conceal will eventually come up.
They will reveal themselves.
These emotions that we have repressed come up because our bodies, our spirits, are always seeking greater wholeness.
When we conceal some aspect of ourselves, we are not whole. We are constantly investing energy into keeping that part of us separate or hidden.
We do have some choice in the matter. We can choose to consciously interact now with the aspects of ourselves that we conceal. Or, we can choose to continue concealing until life forces us to reveal.
If you choose the conscious interaction route, keep in mind there are certain pitfalls best avoided.
Pitfalls on the Path to Revealing:
- Revealing to the wrong audience: choosing whom you open yourself up to is crucial. Otherwise, those things you fear will likely come true (mockery, abandonment, not being heard, etc) thus confirming your need to conceal.
- Revealing because you think you ‘should’: that you should reveal because it is wrong to conceal, for instance. In my experience, revealing my innermost feelings and fears due to a ‘should’ has nearly always backfired. Even when it didn’t backfire, it definitely didn’t lead to any resolution or healing.
- Revealing in order to heal: doing something with a fixed outcome in mind generally doesn’t work.
- Not enough Safety established first: in order to reveal yourself to another (or even to yourself) there needs to be a sense of safety. A knowing that you will be heard, respected and held.
What this means to you may be different than what it means to me. For me, at first, I could only allow myself to experience these overwhelming emotions in the privacy of my own bedroom. I couldn’t let anyone else see me like that; I could barely even write about it in my journal. For me, safety initially was established through privacy.
Eventually, I began to be able to let others in. Even then, it started more with the people I had a therapeutic relationship with (my therapist and my Ortho-Bionomy mentor) vs my boyfriend or my friends. For me, letting those closest to me see my vulnerabilities was the hardest.
Revealing more is an organic process that arises out of you coming into a more natural relationship with yourself.
Our bodies are always moving towards healing – we cut ourselves, our bodies instantly begin to heal.
Likewise, our spirits are always moving towards wholeness. The parts of ourselves that we conceal will eventually be revealed. We don’t even have to do anything to make that happen; it happens naturally.
Through choosing to consciously interact with the feelings we tend to conceal, we have some control over how and when these feelings are revealed.
I spoke briefly about the form safety took for me. What about you?
How might safety look for you? What would help you feel safe enough to explore those feelings or aspects of yourself that you hide?