We Need To Quit Hiding Who We Really Are


I’ve realized something recently: It’s absurd how much we keep from one another.

We walk around with these burdens, these secrets that we’ve categorized as shameful and embarrassing so we keep them inside when in reality, so many others, often those closer to us than we realize, are carrying the same exact baggage. Can we quit that?

I mean, I know it’s much easier said than done, but when you zoom out of this whole life thing, when we get to the other side or the end, whatever it is you believe…are you really going to pat yourself on the back for hiding that addiction or for holding in that secret that kept you from being yourself?

Why do we care so much about what others think—our neighbor, small groups at church, golfing buddies, coworkers? When did it become a rule that we need to appear so perfect? We all know we aren’t perfect, but here we are, so ashamed of the things that make us human.

I believe every thing that comes into our lives does so for a reason, a very good reason…but we hide these opportunities for vulnerability, growth, connection, and a better life in a closet with a bunch of other dusty skeletons.

Recently, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and simultaneously came to terms with my addiction to alcohol. In my group therapy sessions and AA meetings, I have been met with nothing but overwhelming support, kindness, and acceptance. However, sitting in these groups I can’t help but think of how absurd it is that these groups are so austere and anonymous and confidential.

Now, I understand the fact that this is a matter of respecting peoples’ privacy. But why are we so scared to let people see or be aware of what makes us human? What makes us, us?

We have dozens of anonymous groups and unlabeled psychiatric facilities because, heaven forbid someone finds out we’re trying to make better lives for ourselves.

These sorts of things should be celebrated!

Maybe I truly am just crazy, but I am proud to say I go to therapy and that I have the desire to quit drinking. These are two things that make me who I am and from my experience, every time I bring these “dark secrets and struggles” to light, I am almost always met with mutual vulnerability and acceptance.

Through my journey over the past month or so, I can not tell you how many times I have, potentially at inopportune or inappropriate times, shared my struggle to a friend old or new and have been met with a “You know, I am so glad you said that I actually…” (Fill in the blank with some “secret” followed by “I have actually never shared that with anyone.”)

I hate that.

I hate that we live in a world where people feel like they can’t be themselves or that they have to keep a festering struggle inside because they are scared of what others might think.

Life is too damn short for that.

So can we change this? Can we unearth these pieces of ourselves, maybe start a chain reaction that brightens this world one truth at a time?

It starts by accepting the things that we have been given in this life and leveraging them into something beautiful. Because it’s possible. I’ve seen it happen.

This world needs more courage and more honesty.

No matter what we’re struggling with or questioning—faith, sexuality, sense of self, sanity, career path, relationships—can we accept it? Accept it as truth, not good or bad, but somewhere to begin? Can we accept our realities and let it be a beautiful part of who we are?

Because we really are beautiful people, no matter what the world thinks. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog