The Private, The Secret, & The Practical

I have been talking to a lot of people over the past few weeks and I get asked a lot as to why I am sharing my personal, “private”, issues with the general public. And while I am a hundred percent behind privacy as a concept, there is still a difference between being private and being secretive. Today, I would like us to explore that difference a bit.

Let’s start with an example, shall we? We know that I’m open about my struggles, I have been open about my struggles on this particular platform. But if I meet someone in real life, I am probably not going to lead a conversation with this. I won’t even mention it to them unless I become super comfortable with them and decide to share my issues with them. You see what I did here? I made a conscious decision about whether or not I wanted to share, whether or not I wanted to be open. I can if I want, but it’s my decision. That is privacy.

Another situation, I know someone, I am super comfortable with them. They want me to be open, I want to be open with them. They want me to share, I want to share. But I don’t. I can’t. I hold it in, I pull my guard up, I, you know, just don’t open up. Did you notice the absence of a choice here? I am keeping it in. I want to open up, but I can’t because of whatever reason. Now, that is secrecy.

When I was young, younger than I am right now, I thought I was being quiet because I was private. It’s true for the most part, I am private. But…it took me a while to understand that I was keeping secrets as well. I was encouraged to be quiet because of how it may affect my personal and professional life, my career, and my relationships, both platonic and romantic. The worst part is…that wasn’t even impractical advice, that was very much practical based on the world that we live in, the society that we live in.

Consider relationships, for example. How many times have we seen a relationship fall apart because one person was too crazy or sad all the time, when in fact they were clinically depressed and discouraged from seeking medication? How many times have you seen a marriage fail because the spouse was too clingy or did not trust, when in fact they had abandonment issues and were asked to push past them, because, you know, let bygones be bygones? We see people push each other away all the time. Heck, I push people away all the time because I am too afraid of getting hurt or trusting people…

[ Addressing someone off-camera ] Don’t look at me like that.

I am in no way invalidating the circumstances under which certain relationships end, nor am I in any way against starting new ones. For some reason, when I talk about this, you know, talk on this particular topic, people jump to that conclusion. In their defense, I can talk on this for ages and still not be done, but it’s not like I have stopped people from, you know, getting married or something.

[ Addressing someone off-camera ] Oh my God. I gave you a list of items to discuss. It’s not my fault you guys got scared. How is it my fault?

My point is, we expect partners to go on a treasure hunt and be like, “Oh yay, we discovered another life-shattering, marriage-ending, relationship-blasting, whatever, issue. Whoops.” I mean, is that how you want to lay the foundation of a relationship?

We are all broken, walking around, held together by false pretenses. What we need is therapy. What we have is a whole lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and stereotypes passed on from one generation to the next, destroying any chance of a peaceful life.

Because, you know, if we don’t have peace in our personal life, we’re fucked, right? Because professional life, oh, that’s a competition. We are told that it’s a race. And we’re running, we’re running, we’re running straight to the deathbed. How many times have we subjected our coworkers and colleagues to judgment and unfair comparison? For example, if someone doesn’t show up for two days in a row because of a migraine, or someone doesn’t show up early in the morning because they stayed up late with their kids or something, or someone had COVID and they were unable to attend a meeting – how many times have we gone ahead and been like, “Oh, they had this, but we had this, and we were still able to do that”? And there goes the comparison…

On the other hand, if someone is “stupid” enough to explain their issues at work, they are denied opportunities that they have earned and opportunities that they deserve because of the assumption that they might not be able to do their job properly. It has happened to me as well, and it may not have been a big deal at that point, but looking back at it now, I see how it shattered my ability to trust anyone in power. Now that I am leading a team, now that I am working with a lot of people, I try my little best to make sure that my people don’t ever feel that way.

[ Smiling at someone off-camera ] At least I try.

And this is not just in the corporate world or, you know, it’s not just one sector, one industry – it’s every sector, every profession, every professional who is facing this issue. Sure, it’s a race, but is it the same race? Are we all running the same course? Why, why, why is it that to win, someone has to lose? Our race, our competition isn’t against each other. It’s against ourselves, our old past versions. So we can be better, we can improve, we can learn.

The truth is, be it personal or professional, we fucked up the foundations. We can’t fix anything for anyone, for everyone, in a day, not even in a decade. We can fix it for ourselves, for each other, the people around us maybe, one tiny step at a time…by being more open, being less judgy, being more understanding, communicative, you know. I feel like I come down to the same conclusion in every single video – empathy. It’s true, that is all it takes, anywhere.

And when it comes to being private. It’s good. Secretive? Not so much. Being private means that you have healthy boundaries. You are deciding who gets to be a part of your life. You have a rich inner life. You’re taking care of yourself. You’re making sure that you’re not depleting your energy. Being secretive takes a lot out of you. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. It makes you feel alone. It makes this world seem smaller than it has to be. It’s a burden on your mental health, a burden that I hope you can let go off…someday. Hopefully.

On that note, I will see you all next week. Have a good week.

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Blog: The Private, The Secret, & The Practical