Is it Private or Secret?

Knowing the difference can empower us in knowing what and what not to share

Seasons of Change is a biweekly column from Jayne Clark addressing different topics each season. Summer’s focus is spirituality and intuition. Jayne Clark works intuitively with clients to help them resolve issues regarding relationships, loss, grief, health, and career path. To learn more, head to

Not everybody needs to know every personal detail about who we are and the lives we live. There are times when it is appropriate to share things about ourselves and there are other times that it isn’t.

It’s especially appropriate to share when what we are sharing concerns our romantic partner or the health of the relationship. It is also appropriate to share information about ourselves when we are working with a professional therapist, confidant, or counselor who is holding a space for us to heal in a healthy way.

It is not appropriate, however, to bring our personal issues and challenges to our professional work environment and relationships. Dumping our “story” upon meeting someone for the first time is also considered inappropriate.

So when is it private and when is it keeping a secret?

You know it by the way it feels and its level of appropriateness. A secret is always going to have the inner feelings of manipulation, powerlessness, anxiety and guilt. It is rooted in deception and lies.

When we keep a secret, we are not being forthcoming in all the necessary information to keep our relationships healthy, communication clear, and our truth being shared in an honest and open way.

We learn how to keep secrets at a very young age because we desperately want love and approval from our parents, caregivers, and other authority figures. Sometimes we hide who we are for fear of disappointing our guardians. Other times we hide what we are doing to ensure our pseudo-freedom with friends.

Respecting our privacy and the privacy of others is healthy.

Keeping certain matters private helps to maintain appropriate boundaries with whomever we are dealing with. It can build a deeper trust and self-respect within ourselves. This allows us to relate to our life experiences in a much more assertive way.

Privacy is sacred and often times it is like a womb. If we share something prematurely or the timing isn’t right, it can lose its value or meaning to us. Privacy allows love, ideas, and desires to really come to fruition without the judgment or pressure of others. Privacy gives us the opportunity to be with ourselves and go within to hear our deepest truth. And not everybody needs to know what that is until the moment of appropriateness arrives.

The key is to have conscious discernment. In order to do that we must know ourselves and spend time with ourselves so that we become intuitive about what to share and what to keep for ourselves. Doing this can really help to keep our relationships clean and our energy from being depleted.

Image: Some rights reserved by Lisa M Photography

Category: Psych


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