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We live in a confessional culture in the United States. Self-disclosure is ubiquitous. It occurs on TV, in planes, and even happens when one is waiting in a bank line. But for self-disclosure to lead to self-discovery it needs to,
Point to the true essence of the person.
When we self-reveal we are mostly not talking about our true selves. There is a saying, “If you look in the garbage can, all you will see is garbage.”
Most self-revelations have to do with past hurts, failures, and perceived shortcomings.
There is a place for such self-revelation (validating and normalizing our feelings, gaining insight and perspective on our past, and regulating our reactions to “hot button” issues).
Sharing our hurts and failures is not like releasing the valve on a pressure cooker. Letting off steam is a way of creating more steam. If we compulsively cling to this familiar narrative it reinforces our negative identity. And this in turn becomes pain heaped on pain.
Beyond Our Pain – To Our Person
Waking up to the life within involves moving beyond our pain to the essence of our being.
That flow of our real life, like some underground stream, is hidden in silence, shrouded in mystery, and characterized by wisdom and kindness. And unbeknownst to most of us it has been there all the time.
Learning to affirm and live its reality is our ultimate act of faith and path to liberation. So self-reveal if we must, but let it happen through listening. Listening for our inner being and that of others.