One of the major issues people have with journal writing is that they fear other’s might read their secrets. A reader recently asked me about this. This reminded me of the days when I was contemplating taking this practice up. I was staying in a hostel then and people there were not particularly a respectful lot
I did feel a bit apprehensive. But I also knew it would greatly help in my understanding and clarity about my own thoughts. Those were times of intense confusion for me. There were a lot of things I was trying to make sense of. I took the chance.
Why people keep secrets?
A lot of people hold on to their secret with everything they have. I don’t understand this. I consider myself an open book and am not ashamed of anything. I like trying and becoming better. This involves making mistakes, of all kinds. For me this is a natural process of learning. My mistakes are something I am proud of. This doesn’t mean I discuss them with every other person or that I let everyone read my journal. There may be certain things that I don’t want everyone to know, but they are not things I will loose my sleep on. Why are people so hell bent on hiding certain facts about themselves?
Are they ashamed of past mistakes? If so, they don’t need to be. It’s OK to make mistakes, even big ones. As long as you learned a lesson from a mistake, it is OK.
Will secrets harm present relationships when revealed? Are certain things good while they are buried? Will they harm your relationships now if they are revealed?
The only things that can harm your relationships are hiding facts and your fears. Honesty, the will to grow and expand, and the drive to create deep meaningful relationships will always move you forward. Have faith. When your reveal previously held secrets, it might look ugly in the beginning, your loved ones might show intense dislike or even abandon you, but it will all be good in time.
A relationship based on dishonesty and hiding facts, is a weak relationships. Deep and meaningful relationships require individuals who love themselves first. This would mean that the individuals have come to terms with their mistakes, they are no longer ashamed of them and they believe their partner would understand what they did and why they did it. If you don’t believe your partner can understand you and you keep secrets, you are setting yourself up for a life of trouble! It’s better to discuss things with your partner, bring everything to their notice and let things take their own course, rather than carry the burden of maintaining a secret and telling lies to protect yourself, and them.
When you don’t tell them, you don’t help them. In fact, you impede their growth by letting them be comfortable by ignoring what they don’t like. Help them, bring it to their notice. Reveal your secrets and force them to face what they want to avoid
You have to actively work upon positive and nourishing relationships. If your current relationships are not so, you need to do something about them, right away. Be brave, harden your heart and do it. Holding back secrets might seem very convenient now, but can potentially sap a life time of energies and happiness.
Will revealed secrets cause embarrassment? Will people make fun of you? Will they laugh at you?
Only the fearfuls, the weak laugh. And even they will quiten down with time, when they see you persist on your path to growth. Laugh along with others. It is not as bad as you think. In fact, it is quite liberating! You no more have fear holding you back on something. It melts away when you have let others see it, when you have laughed at yourself for it. All that remains is to grow and expand further, and that is so much more easier when you have accepted your mistake and are not trying to hide it or deny it.
Will your secrets used by others against you? I like to believe I have complete control over my life. While others may argue that people can do things that affect my life, I stubbornly refuse to accept this. The world gives me varied inputs and situations, but it is totally up to me what response I meet out to such situations. No matter what, my response is totally in my control. Even if someone is holding a gun to my head, what I say to him or how I negotiate the situation is totally me. I refuse to accept he has any powers over my being. I keep all the power with me. And you can not change that, because I am not giving you the power to do it.
I believe in a friendly Universe. I believe everything happens for good. I totally believe in it.
All experiences either give us happiness or an opportunity for growth. I absolutely believe in it.
What we make of situations and how we respond is entirely our own responsibility. I absolutely believe in it.
Others have no power over me, others cannot use anything, secrets included, to harm me.
If you fear others can harm you, you are giving power away to them. Keep your power with you, face your fear, decide what you will do and how you will respond to such a situation. Free others of all expectations, that is real freedom. Don’t expect others to do this or do that, to not do this or not do that. What if they read your diary? Decide your response, retain the power over the situation. Be free! Decide to be free!!
Does keeping your secrets give you a sense of individuality? Some just like to keep certain facts to themselves because it gives them a certain sense of individual control. They feel secure and safe. They are closed, they are guarding their fortress. They don’t like anybody coming in. This is a fearful response. What do you have to guard against? You manifest what you believe. If you think people are generally bad and here to harm you, you see more of such people.
Relationships are a way of sharing and multiplying your happiness and your growth experience. Don’t deny yourself that because of your fears.
Sharing with others gives a lot of clarity, it gives a sense of happiness and freedom, it’s liberating! It strengthens connection and Oneness.
So how does it all relate to journal writing?
What I was explaining was why you should not let your fear of revealing secrets stop you. You might not like it if others read it but that should not stop you. You maintain the journal for it’s benefits.
Weigh benefits against problems.
You will have to weigh the benefits of this practice against the possible problems and see if you wants to continue it. Will you take up a positive habit with courage, or will you let your fears stop you from progressing ahead? You alone can decide.
If your close ones don’t respect your wishes, do they deserve to be close to you?
If you ask people to respect your privacy and they don’t, do they really love and respect you? This may be a hard question to ask yourself but a very important and necessary one. If you avoid this, you are just hiding away from truth. The short term comfort you seek by avoiding this is going to convert into a life long feeling of negativity. This will manifest as feelings of insecurity, low self worth and into bad relationships. Hard as it may seem, you have to face this question.
I am particular about the company I keep. All my friends respect my decisions and will not read my journal once I ask them. If you fears some of your close ones can do this, you probably needs to seriously work on the quality of your relationships. You will have to take up your loved ones on this one, seriously. If someone can’t respect your serious requests for privacy, is such a person really a friend? Does this person deserve being close to you? You will have to answer this for yourself.
Just tell people firmly that you doesn’t want them to read it. People who really love and respect you will understand. I have been doing this for a decade now and never have had anyone push me to see it. I have never, ever repented keeping a journal. If anything, it has been one of the best decisions of my life!