Things To Hide: How Honest Are You?

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Is anyone completely honest? Is it even possible for anyone to be that transparent? Or does everyone have, for whatever reason, at least a few things they hide?

It might be because they’re ashamed to share something, whether it’s something they’ve done or something they don’t like about themselves. Or it might be because it’s better for everyone else that they don’t reveal something: they saw something they shouldn’t have or they know something no-one else knows. I’m thinking about things that don’t harm anyone if these things aren’t revealed; so it’s no moral code that’s being broken here. The only thing that’s being broken is the ability of a person to wholeheartedly reveal all of themself to another person.

Of course, none of us can completely share everything with another person due to our brains being encased in our bodies at a ratio of 1:1. No matter how much you share and how well you share it, I will never be able to understand it or experience it the way you do. We have the gift of communication and as relational beings we can relate to each other, but I will never know if what I experience is exactly the same as what you experience, close though it may be. It’s the whole when I see blue you may be seeing purple scenario, and even if we both saw blue, we may be seeing different shades of blue and never know.

Excluding the limitations of the physical design of our bodies and things like time and memory, I wonder if there’s anyone who is known completely by another person. I naturally think of people who are married or who have been with someone for many years. I used to think going out with someone meant they would know everything about you. This terrified me and it was the reason I thought I’d never go out with anyone; not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t think I could share everything with another person. If a prerequisite for going out with someone was you had to tell them everything – as I thought it was – then I was doomed to be alone forever.

I’ve come to realize though, that even marriage doesn’t mean two people will know everything about each other. Sure, they will probably know each other more than any other person, but they’ll always be learning new things about each other. People can go into marriage thinking it will fulfil them because, “At last I will be known completely,” only to realize that’s not how it works. I’m okay with this. I know not to look for fulfilment from another person; that’s too high a pressure to put on someone.

I had a friend tell me, “It’s not like that,” when I told her my fears about having to share everything with a guy if we were to go out. This made me wonder, “Well, what is it like then?” Because as much as I feared having to share everything, I also desperately wanted to. In one way I was relieved that I don’t have to reveal everything, but in another way I was kind of disappointed. I wanted to be known by someone, and now I found out going out with someone and even marrying them wasn’t going to guarantee that. Was there no hope for me to be known?

This wouldn’t be an issue if I was honest with everyone and had nothing to hide. I wouldn’t have this need to be known and this desire to share everything if I was already known. And it is this that brings me back to my original question: is anyone completely honest? Or is it just me who feels like no-one truly knows me?

Maybe it’s okay to not reveal everything. Maybe it’s just a personality thing. Some people are open books; others keep things inside. I’m quiet and introverted so maybe that explains why the thought of sharing everything terrifies me and why I feel like no-one really knows me. This would all be fine except I have a need to be known. Is this something of the human condition that we all simply want to be known? And is this because we were made to be known? I don’t mean that we’re all made to be famous, just that people will know us for who we really are.

I don’t think it’s just a personality thing for me, though, because it’s only certain things I don’t feel I can share: things I’m ashamed of, things I don’t like about myself, my fears and insecurities. Do I have more of these things than other people, or do I just fear sharing them more than other people? I worry about what people will think of me. I worry they’ll think badly of me. I worry they’ll judge me.

But I want to share these things because if I don’t, no-one will ever truly know me. Maybe all the things I want to share don’t need to be shared, but I always thought if someone wanted to really know me, they’d want me to share everything. Maybe other people don’t think people are hiding anything, because they themselves don’t hide anything. I, on the other hand, know I hide things so I assume others hide things too and I want to know them. It matters to me.

I want to know people and I want them to know me.

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5 responses »

  1. Good insight.
    Perhaps off topic but, ‘let God be true and every man a liar.’ Does stealing penny candy at age 4 qualify a man for ‘thief’ at age thirty? I don’t think so, but as to your topic, lying is on a different playing field.

    Both are wrong, but the intangible of lying is so much more secretive and even more destructive. The careless use of words that people use daily is an indictment for lying, and sad to say, folks do it with no care. For instance, someone says: ‘back in 5 minutes,’ then an hour goes by. A lie?? Oh yes, but seems harmless.

    Most folks like to think they do not lie, because they compare their ‘lies’ with greater lies, and deceive themselves into thinking they are saints.

    When Pilate asked ‘a man’ ‘what is truth?’ he received complete silence in return, for truth and lies cannot be dissected in a few seconds, especially when asked only to mock. But when we discuss lying, invariably I believe, all discussion should lead to God.

    • Thanks!
      I think we may have different definitions of a lie. I definitely wouldn’t call the back in 5 minutes type of thing a lie. Both people would understand it isn’t literal, and when you can’t predict unforeseeable circumstances that might stop you from being back in 5 minutes, I wouldn’t call it a lie if you intended to be back in 5 minutes. Otherwise, we’d all have to be so particular and specific about what we said – e.g. I intend to be back in 5 minutes but things may come up that prevent me being able to do so, etc.
      And so in my post, I wasn’t talking about lying as such, just not revealing something that no-one asked for. I can see how people might call that a lie, but if someone didn’t reveal to me that they hated their hair colour, I might be shocked but I wouldn’t accuse them of lying. These are the types of things I’m talking about, things that are trivial to other people but might mean everything to someone, hence why they’re too scared to reveal it.
      But, I get that people will have different views on what a lie is or isn’t and what is right or wrong to share or not share.
      And yes, I agree any talk of truth should come back to God. God knows all, but people don’t. How do we as humans be as transparent with humans as we are with God when humans are limited by physical bodies and God is not? How close can humans get to knowing everything about each other?

      • Good reply Juni-

        Your last question reveals a human impossibility I suppose, for I do not think I know everything about myself first!!

        I like to think I do, but an occaisonal dream that reveals certain things does a good job of pricking the conscience.

  2. Getting to know someone and them getting to know you involves taking a chance; making yourself vulnerable to all the potential unknowns and uncertainties that could arise should you decide to reveal some as yet hidden secret about yourself. But that *is* an aspect of life and existence. Vulnerability is not the same as weakness, and it is possible to reveal what one chooses about one’s self without lying and without exposing one’s self. But if one truly loves another, that risk reduces, because with unconditional love (real unconditional love) acceptance can be the usual consequence to revealing what one thinks of as secrets to one’s personality or experience of life. This *is* a difficult hurdle in any kind of relationship. Time, however, does make a difference. Being with the same person for 14, 20, 30, 40 years decreases that risk of exposure and fear. But the relief involved in knowing someone else as they know you (albeit, yes, it is a continual reciprocal process of knowing one another, as people change, people evolve, thus the relationship also changes and evolves as the two revolve about one another, sharing themselves) is far worth it and beautiful; I suppose this is that magical moment of unity and oneness. If only the entire human race could reach this kind of openness and unity, perhaps the fear of revelation, to truly BE, would also disappear.

    Beautiful and honest post, Juni. 🙂

    • Thanks once again for your thoughtful reply. I can definitely see all that, but I also see the other side where people I know got married and thought it would be more. They thought they’d have such a closeness and would be completely known. They learnt they could only be completely known by God so nothing could compare to that feeling of being known by him. And yes, they are closer than any other people and continually learn more about each other, and that’s enough for them. So yes, I think two people who spend so many years together can be open and united, but it still won’t be anything like being 100% known, even if only because of that body and brain ratio of 1:1.

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