I have watched a list on Twitter develop. Entitled #realmen it has detailed wise advice for men in their treatment of others. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the wisdom that has been given and agree most cases. However there was one quote that I did not entirely accept.
It went like this: A real man knows his secrets and keeps quiet about them.
I believe that a real man, aware of his secrets, will, appropriately, bring them into the light. Secrets, if kept in the dark, have a tendency to hold a person back, in shame and guilt. And I don’t think anyone wants to live under that blanket.
If you are a woman reading this, don’t sit back and believe that only men have problems and should be dealing with their stuff. Women have secrets too. So you too should be bringing any secrets you have into the light.
OK so what do I mean?
Bring into the light: appropriate disclosure of the secret to someone who can help you through the secret and the damage that it will have caused you.
Disclose to whom: this depends on the level of trust you have. Ideally, it should be your partner, but for some, your partner may not be appropriate in the first instance. Because most secrets carry shame and guilt, you may not be able to face the shame and guilt of what you have hidden. I am fortunate enough to have people in my faith community to whom I make myself accountable and I will disclose to them first.
Receive freedom: Once disclosed and worked through, the secret will no longer hold you in shame and guilt. When these have been removed, there is a new-found freedom that comes which cannot be explained, but it is very real.
Here’s an example from my life: Not long after I married my husband, Steve, our marriage hit a rocky patch. I sought solace elsewhere and in doing so, put my marriage in jeopardy. I could have kept this hidden. Steve wouldn’t have known. I noticed I felt guilty about what I had done, and ashamed. I did not want to share this with anyone. However, something happened that caused me to confess the state of my side of the relationship with people I trusted and I suddenly felt the guilt and shame lift. Within hours, with my friends’ help, I confessed to my husband.
Was this easy to do? No. Did Steve and I live happily ever after – so far so good, but we had experienced a loss of trust, and had to build that again. It was painful, but so restorative. 26 years later we are still together, but we know that if we experience something that we don’t want to share with each other, it MUST be shared, otherwise we will go back to having secrets, and along with that will come the guilt and shame.
Thank you for taking the time to visit me here. I appreciate any feedback that you care to give. Please add a comment to introduce yourself, or add value to what I have written in this post. Kate.