I’m going to reveal something: I conceal things.
I conceal things that are precious to me. I conceal thoughts, events, emotions that are shameful or embarrassing.
Most often, I conceal my actual, in-the-moment, feelings – especially if those feelings might reveal too much about my highly sensitive nature, my prejudices, or my insecurities.
In fact, for many years, I was so good at concealing my feelings that I didn’t even know what they truly were.
It took a pretty big life event, now nearly 4 years ago, to begin to change that – an event that isn’t relevant to this post and therefore won’t be revealed (grin).
What you conceal cannot be healed.
Last fall my tendency to conceal was pointed out by a mentor in a way I couldn’t avoid. He made it very clear that ‘what you conceal can never be healed.’
Now, this post isn’t some big confessional. Sure, there are things in my life that are embarrassing and shameful.
What I’m interested in is exploring the nature of concealment.
So, question: What purpose does concealment serve?
*I’m going to answer for myself. Feel free to play along and answer for yourself as well.
Protection. Actually, it’s more like protection, protection, protection. Layers and layers and layers of protection.
- Protection of self – from mockery, abandonment (if my opinions differ from yours you may leave), from allowing you to see the effect your words and actions have on me.
If you can’t see how much your words or actions affect/hurt me, you won’t know how much control you have over me and my feelings. I’m a rock, dammit! At least as far as you can see. (Inside, I may be shattering).
- Protection of ideas, dreams, hopes – again, from mockery, from my potential lack of follow-through (more mockery), from being told they are stupid or worthless.Like, for instance, my children’s book for adults that no one has read or even knows I’ve written…until right now.
- Protection of private practices – those things that nourish and support me that you might, again, mock or ridicule. Or, that part of me that mocks and ridicules myself.Yes, I am a tree-hugging hippy who has to stop and ‘talk’ with every squirrel I see. If you were to catch me, oh, the embarrassment! (Silly squirrel whisperer).
Question: What is needed in order to reveal?
Safety. Layers and layers and layers of safety. Safety which is created in part through:
Permission. Permission to not reveal. Permission to mess up, to hide my feelings, to just hide in general.
And, permission for this whole process to take as long as necessary. Which leads to:
Patience. For most of my life I wasn’t even consciously aware of this tendency to conceal. In many ways, concealment simply was who I was.
I didn’t know how deeply hidden my fragile, sensitive nature had become. I had no idea of my fragility, of the wounded parts of me so in need of my awareness and compassion.
Feelings I couldn’t even begin to name, to understand, or to sort out. They were just a huge, jumbled mess. I was just a huge, jumbled mess.
So, yes, patience.
And, perspective. Because, looking back over these 4 years, there have been a ton of shifts in this pattern.
It is so important to keep that in mind, to recognize and acknowledge how I now
a) am able to discern my feelings,
b) have tools that help me meet them and
c) often now even feel safe revealing them to others.
These shifts are HUGE.
Sure, this is still a pattern for me. That’s ok. It has permission to be there. Just knowing that it is there and noticing when it is ‘active’ ensures my continual growth into revealing more, concealing less.
This is a really big, and somewhat terrifying, topic for me.
And, it’s one I want to explore through a series of shorter posts versus one really long, ramble-ly one. So, for now:
What are your thoughts on this whole concealing, revealing, healing topic?
Are there things in your life or in you that you conceal? What purpose does that concealment serve?
And, what might make it safe for you to begin to reveal those fragile parts of yourself so that they can begin to heal? So that you can begin to become more whole?