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Monday, April 23, 2018

To Share or Not to Share, That is the Question

I've noticed with my cat Simon that when he is afraid, he burrows.  For example, if he is going to the vet, he'll burrow as deeply as he can into his kennel or the arms of someone who is holding him.  It's actually a bit heartbreaking.  Seeing him that scared makes us feel for him.  I've had to transport him a number of times and without fail the journey upsets and scares him.  In a way, Simon is trying desperately to find his secret safe space where he can hide from the upsetting journey.

As kids, when our parents fight we tend to find a spot to hide out (or burrow) to weather the storm.  I remember when I was a kid hearing my parents fight and I would just be glad when it calmed down or someone left, whether it was to go to work or to just go somewhere else.  As a kid, I was dependent or reliant on my parents and as such I couldn't just run away to avoid the fighting.  So, I tried to find a space as far from the drama as I could.  As an adult, we call spaces where we try to shut the world out our bachelor or bachelorette pad or our man cave or she shed.    

As I've gotten older I realize that hiding or burrow away or not just a physical phenomenon, but a psychological one as well.  Sometimes, 'hiding or burrowing' is keeping our thoughts or feelings close to the vest for fear of upsetting the apple cart or upset the calm.    Now, I've never been of the philosophy that we should share all our thoughts in a stream of conscience way.   Whether we like it or not we are a fallen creation and are subject to rude or devious thoughts from time to time.  As such, some degree of discretion in expressing our thoughts is very useful in dealing with others.   But, I'm not necessarily talking about that extreme.  I'm talking about 'secrets' (that is our secret thoughts).   


Sometimes keeping 'secret' our thoughts is not a bad things.  

  • Doing so can prevent us from saying harmful/hurtful things before we've had a chance to fully digest and process. 
  • Doing so can prevent us from unnecessarily creating or having to deal with conflict.
  • Doing so can give us time to cool down before we say something that we can't easily take back.
  • Doing so can avoid subjecting ourselves to hurt from those whom don't necessarily have our best interests in mind.


However, sometimes keeping 'secret' our thoughts IS a bad thing.
  • It doesn't give others a chance to know or understand us.
  • It can be a way of putting off necessary, but uncomfortable discussions/hashing out.
  • It can be a way of blocking healing.
  • It can be a way of not giving us a chance to know others thoughts, feelings, or intents and/or possible friendships.


I guess ultimately when debating whether to share our 'secrets' we have to consider the following:
  • Are we bottling up our thoughts in an unhealthy way which will lead to an eventually 'explosion' or 'crack-up'.
    • If so should we share the thoughts.
    • If so should we find another healthy outlet to express them or at least remove negative energy that they cause.
    • If so should we share them with the understanding that you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette. 
  • Are we using discretion or just using the idea of 'discretion' as an excuse to avoid saying what we should.
  • Do our 'secret' thoughts, if shared liberally, add to or detract from healthy relationships.
    • Initially, they may or may not cause a disruption.
    • If there is an initial disruption as a result of sharing our secrets, will it ultimately create the space in which a healthier relationship is possible.

I'll be the first one to say that I don't always know when to open up and share my 'hidden' or secret thoughts and when it is best to realize discretion is the better part of valor.   Just some food for thoughts and questions to ponder when pondering about our 'secret' or hidden thoughts....