What are the personal experiences and stories that you have of yourself, that you had locked away and thrown away the keys, in the deep, deep recesses of your mind, sealed by a pact that you will never, ever share it in the open? What would shame you so terribly if it were ever posted on the internet and it becomes/is transparent with your name for anyone and everyone to see? What happened from the past or recent that you'd be embarrassed to talk about or even disclose?
This is exactly what you'd need to share with others, openly and publicly.
If you cant share your shame and humiliation in the open public, it's likely that you hadn't gotten over it yet. And if you're not over it yet, it's very likely that it's a festering or at least an unhealed wound in your heart that will always hold you back from being 100% genuine and real. Simply because of the bleeding.
Well, being real and authentic isn't just about being honest – it's more about having nothing to hide.
Hiding the truth is firstly useless, because truth stands on its own, no matter what you do, truth stands out. Number two, hiding truth disconnects and creates distance between you and people. If you tear down the wall by sharing what you never thought you could ever share…you'll experience a much deeper and meaningful level of connection with everyone you meet.
It is impossible for partial or selective shielding. If you have a shield on standby that cloaks or prevents part of you from being discovered, and in a way, judged, I assure you that this shield will be operational all the time, 24/7. It'd run in the background, ever ready to shield yourself from possible and potential risks and harm. Shields disconnects and creates distance from other who wants to get to know you more, and cuts them off. In fact, it'd even cut yourself off from yourself.
It's time to lower your shields.
Yes, there is always that risks of being "found out" and be attacked mercilessly by people and enemies in the vicinity.
Seriously, what's the worst case scenario? You discover who are your real family and friends who stand by you, through better or worse. At most, you'll be exposed to really flowery and loud languages.
When you share your deepest and most shameful experiences and stories, you may actually be surprised by the responses that you'd get. Instead of the harsh and painful judgment that you were expecting, you may very well get responses that are accepting, compassionate, patient and loving.
You know, we all know that we aren't perfect. We all just want to connect. They too will understand and want to connect with you and able to trust you more that you're being true and authentic with them. When you hide your "defects", you come across as highly guarded, unreal and fake. Well, people may still communicate with you on a level that's more superficial (think seasons, things, etc) but they wont go out of their way to help you as a fellow human being.
Why? Because they don't know you and are disconnected from you. They might as well help someone whom they know more and trust more.
Of course it's not about getting help from others in times of need, it's about being honest and authentic to not only ourselves, but to the people in our lives.
When you share you pain, shame and embarrassment with others, you allow your internal conflicts and resistance to evolve and adapt into acceptance, and slowly you find that all your fears, sorrows slowly fade and become happiness at acceptance and sharing.
You realize that we all have to undergo certain phases and experiences in our lives, regardless if they're internally or externally inflicted. Our painful past and experiences actually helps us to connect with people on a deeper level than you will ever imagine.
Perhaps this is why I connect more easily with people. I've come to realize that I am incomplete. As I am now, I am incomplete. I am a work in process. I have many experiences and facets to me, both painful and joyful. Some brings tears. Some brings smiles. They all make a part of me, that without the other, I am not me. But I am incomplete, because I am in the process of learning more, experiencing more. And for that, I don't waste time worrying as much as before, but I spend more time enjoying the moment, and the process of living and experiencing life.
Louise, my wonderful wife and best friend, knows everything about me. She knows my deepest thoughts, my greatest joys, my biggest regrets, my proudest moments. She knows my weaknesses, she knows my strengths. And I tell her everything I can recall about me, or whatever that comes to mind that I think I should tell her. And that's how I let her know about me.
She didn't hate me. She didn't glare at me. She didn't cry. She saw me as I am, and accepted me…and boy, that is something that I will never forget.
I take the same approach with people whom I meet, though I don't tell them everything upfront like a confession =p. I take my time to develop the friendship and relationship, and if the situation calls for me to share something I've learnt from my painful past experiences, I bring it up, tell the story, and share what I learnt from it. But I often factor in risks such as members of the opposite sex, because I don't wish to foster unnecessary familiarity or communicate in such a way that I attract them to me more than the relationship and friendship I seek to foster (in a way, I take care of my friendships and relationships closely).
Many personal development blogs, books and stories are often written by authors who projects perfection and completion, demonstrating stories of order, peace, success, wealth, achievements and so on. This is very much shielding and deflection, a creation of artificial walls with banners on them – a standard that is unreal. The only perfect being is the God of the Bible.
I find it more beneficial and inspiring to share stories of pain and failures. I like to emphasise and point out that even though we can fail numerous times, we can always get up, dust ourselves, and press on, again. I think and believe that garnering the ability to abase and abound, meaning that we become balanced, and not only look to a pure success, wealth and achievement identity as all, but it must be coupled with the ability to handle, embrace and learn from failures and mistakes, if not greater emphasis on it.
Basically, you can visualise success, achievement and wealth all you want, but if you're afraid to fail, your visualizations will never become a reality.
When we fall into the pattern and routine of hiding our past painful failures and experiences, we become stagnant. We need to be willing to say: "if I fail this, it's okay. I'm human, and I'm not perfect. I'll just pick myself up and move on."
I've had some really shiny failures and mistakes in my life, from having being scammed before in a foreign land and not being able to fix it, from almost closing our business down twice, to losing friends from joint ventures, to being caught at work viewing obscene materials. And yet I'm here. I've not given up on myself, nor on God, nor on life.
In fact, I've picked myself up, dusted myself, and press on.
If you can't share your pain and shame with others, then what you're really telling yourself is that failure is a very bad thing, and that it must be avoided at all costs. Then what about future failures and mistakes? Will you hide those too? Does that mean you wont try certain things because you know in advance that some things cant be hidden?
Look, if you're going to fail, fail well. Learn from it, and allow others to learn from it. It's okay to be taken as human, it's okay to make mistakes – in fact, you may even make some new friends and allies as a result of it.
Failure is not something to be avoided. It's a natural cycle and part of life. To resist and avoid failure is tantamount to avoiding life itself.
Failure is really our greatest teacher. We learn more from failures than we do from successes and achievements.
I learnt to love my failing in my relationships for many years. I learnt to build a business by failing in it for many years. I learnt to live by failing in it for many years. The lessons I garnered were really to enjoy creating and delivering the best value that I can, and I will enjoy the best relationships, businesses and life that I can ever have.
No matter what you're ashamed of and hiding away, it's very likely that someone else had shared something worse than you/that. If a hired hitman can share about the counts of murders he's committed, I'm pretty sure you can open up to share about your self abuse, your eating problem, or your internet porn addiction. Many others had shared before their stories on these topics before, which helps them to help others with similar challenges and issues.
Do you want permission? Okay, I grant you the full permission to be a human being. To make mistakes. To have the worst thoughts. The right to struggle with horrible socially unacceptable addictions.
And yes, you have the right to admit it in public.
Will there be backlash and judgment? Oh yeah. Definitely. I get shot for some of the things I write. I've even had a friend who severed our friendship. Some people take my mistakes as full invitations to condemn me. An example is if I struggled with business and finances years ago, I must suck in managing businesses and finances today, and somehow my business makes money by me doing poor work or something like that.
But because I've accepted who I am to myself, my past, present and future, these people don't really get to me. Most of the time, their criticisms are usually about themselves and have nothing to do with me – I just happen to be 'topic of the day.' I'm okay with getting flak because the benefits of sharing those stories greatly outweigh the setbacks, be it in new or old relationships I have.
Well, if someone rejects me for who I am or for what I had done, then I'd just say "okay, let's get the breakup done and over with, so we both can move on." It is very good to remove and purge all the unsupportive psychic vampire relationships from our lives, so that we can focus on living positive, encouraging and loving lives living out our purposes.
If you start to worry about losing friends and contact by being honest…then allow me to suggest that you may be holding on to relationships that aren't worth maintaining or keeping. Any person or relationships that rejects you for being true and authentic is truly abusive relationships – you'd be much better off when you let them go.
I enjoy it that I don't really have to worry about someone digging up my past and finding some humiliating and embarrassing story that will totally destroy my carefully protected and moulded public image. I am the same privately as I am publicly. I don't have to shield myself. It's very stressful to constantly try to live out some false pretend image.
You don't have to share all your painful moments and experiences at once. You can do this gently. Instead of a massive total, 180-degrees turnaround, why not focus on becoming more real and authentic. Share a story from the past that would embarrass you a little…but it wouldn't kill you to share it. Listen to the responses you receive. Do you feel relieved? Do you feel more connected with other people? Do you feel more liberated and free? Do you feel less stressed? want, but if you’re afraid to fail, your visualizations
For every embarrassing story that you cannot ever imagine ever sharing publicly, it's okay – say to yourself:
"I know this is a tough block in my life to let go, but at this moment in time, I do not have enough courage and strength to let it go now. But I intend to become the kind of person who can eventually share this, and change my fear to happiness."
Shalom. Be at peace. =)