Monday, April 14, 2008

Secrets (listening, continued)

Secrets are often hard things to carry around. They weigh you down, make you old before your time and drive you into isolation. If you have a secret it's easy to think you're the only one who has suffered this terribly truth and this knowledge can change you. Mind you - not all secrets are burdens, some are joyful, but those often end up being shared in short order. I'm talking about the heavy ones. Or the ones that at least feel heavy.

If you can find someone with whom you can share your secret you'll often find that, really, it's not so bad. You're not alone. If someone would just listen to you without judging then your life might be a little better. Chances are pretty good the secret is no worse than anyone else's.

If you're afraid to tell anyone your secret, afraid no one can truly hear your secret without flinching, then there is still hope. Check out PostSecret.

Sometimes we need to know that someone is listening, without seeing their reaction. Maybe it's kind of like going to confession - you name your sins and are somehow forgiven. PostSecret encourages you to write your secret down on a postcard and to send it out. You know someone will read it. You know you're not alone anymore.

A selection of received postcards is posted every Sunday. And you know what? Every week almost, I find one of my own secrets there and I realize, I am not alone.

Through the act of being silently listened to, these revealed secrets accomplish many things. The secret teller has the opportunity to give up their burden. The secret reader may find themselves on the screen and realize they are not the only one who has carried a particular secret. And the community that has arisen around sharing secrets, via PostSecret, is impressive and has helped many people through their own dark nights, by listening to each other's secrets with kindness and compassion.

If you're reading this blog you may already know about PostSecret. Check it out again anyway. You are not alone. And if you're wondering if I've sent in a secret I will tell that yes, I have. It helped. I don't need to tell you what it is, because someone else already knows, already listened to me, already shared my burden.

Letting go of your secrets can be an act of survival. Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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