Recall: Remember a belief or experience that causes you to keep it hidden.
Reflect: Consider this memory. What happened? Who was there? How did it affect you?
Reveal on paper: Write in a journal your memories, thoughts, feelings, actions, and emotional reactions. Just free flow, get it out and on paper. Then read it to yourself as if you were hearing about it from your younger self.
Reveal to another: This is where you make a big step. Who can you share your story with? Who can you trust will listen to you with suspended judgment and full acceptance? True release from the chokehold of emotional angst is with a benevolent witness or committed listener.
Reboot: After you have shared with a trusted other, imagine you are rebooting your memory, just like computer memory. Let it be defragmented and safely put away.
Restart: This is when you get back on your journey to your future, starting now. You have now achieved a clean restart pertaining to this memory or story.
Get real. Be authentic. Be courageous. Make contact and learn to empathize. Trust and disclose yourself and invite others to do the same. You can be the committed listener to someone else.
3. Own your story.
Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability and the concept of whole-heartedness is wonderful research and life lessons for being more courageous. We can be purposeful and careful in revealing (or discovering) who we really are while also establishing strong boundaries and being very deliberate about when and with whom to share. Her books The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly are wonderful titles and books worth reading on your journey to living optimally and fully.
She says in The Gifts of Imperfection, “Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love, belonging, and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
We are all a compilation of our experiences, our memories, and our perception of those. What we learn from them is the key. Chosen change or unchosen change eventually has to be accepted and digested before life continues.
These times are when you need someone to be emotionally naked with, and those lessons are what this book is about for you.
What key points of your life have affected your way of living, and what you share or don’t share? How could that change if you found the place and person to share what you have not shared, to say what you have not said, and to dream out loud with a caring listener?
Responses to events are mediated. In other words, when an event takes place, our responses — our behaviors — are shaped by (a) our interpretation of the event, which is a consequence of our beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions, and (b) the feelings generated by those beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions.
Those beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions are the preexisting lenses we wear and look through, which determine, or at least color, our observation and interpretation of events. Discover ways and means to be naked emotionally, when it is safe and secure, and you will find yourself feeling whole and open, at the right times, places, circumstances, and with the right people.
We are, in essence, relationship-beings.
If you live your life never revealing things that you have kept hidden, your authentic self will always be hidden as well. You will be loved by some and befriended by others, but there will be something crucial missing.