By Tanya Schecter
Do our secrets own us, or do we own our secrets? I used to believe that secrets are thoughts or actions that are too shameful to share with anyone. Since no one could possibly understand them, I needed to bury them deep inside, hidden from the rest of the world. This belief caused me to armor up, pretend that I could handle more than I was capable of, and avoid honest conversations where I could share what I was really feeling and desiring. I imagine that I am not alone in having adopted this approach.
When our secrets own us – and I use the term secret loosely here to refer to any real or imagined fear – we often approach others from a place of head truth. Limiting beliefs about what can be said out loud as well as what someone will be able to handle or how hearing it will alter their perception of us often causes us to short circuit conversations and miss opportunities for connection, development, and creation. Logical and rational views of how the world should be and how people should respond to one another guide our interactions and decision-making, often keeping them superficial and short-sighted as we refrain from sharing our heart truth with one another.
Our heart truth is more than just our feelings – it involves sharing our thoughts, perspectives, and what we are experiencing without veiling it with rational layers of thought and justification designed to protect ourselves or the recipient while remaining curious and open to what the other person has to say, their response, and any potential outcome. Sharing our heart truth involves the willingness to be vulnerable and challenge our own preconceived notions of what’s acceptable and what another person can handle or is capable of. It requires that we open our heart enough to give another person the benefit of the doubt and stay open to the relationship while granting it power.
When we find the courage to speak our heart truth, we can choose to share our secrets. These may be as simple as stating that we made a mistake, don’t know what the next step is, need help, are uncomfortable with something that’s occurred, or regret an action that we’ve taken. Speaking these truths with an open heart allows us to release the tension associated with holding them close to our heart, and work through any associated conflicts together. Sharing our secrets creates trust, relieves stressful burdens, and, when navigated together, can create superior outcomes and stronger and more powerful relationships. Releasing them also empowers us to become the leader we’re meant to be, able to create the world and relationships we want to experience. Which secrets will you release by communicating your heart truth?
To learn more about communicating heart and head truth, read chapter seven from Lead from Your Heart: The Art of Relationship-based Leadership by Tanya Schecter and Matthew Gould