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It’s natural to want to put our best foot forward in whatever role we happen to be playing. And it’s true there are parts of our inner world that are not helpful in every situation. And keeping these parts private is wisdom and not hypocrisy. At the same time, we must be willing to bear the fullness of our true self, warts and all, to our trusted others to have the relational depth and impact we desire.

Of course, everyone doesn’t have the right or privilege to know every part of who we are. And appropriate filters should still be in place when we do share. Our sharing should promote life and goodness even when it’s difficult, and not death and destruction in the name of just being honest.

But often it’s a mix of fear and shame that holds us back from allowing others to see our true selves. Maybe we fear rejection if others really knew and saw our many undone parts. And perhaps the shame of our story leaves us no longer feeling worthy of love and belonging. Either way, we hide behind our elaborate fig leaves – only showing others those carefully curated parts of ourselves we want them to see.

While this surface connection might be appropriate for those in our outer circles, it limits the relational potential for those closest to us. It keeps our relationships in the shallows rather than going into the deep.

To be sure, it’s vulnerable to allow someone to witness our true self without pretenses or our many masks. We don’t know how they will respond and we’re choosing to trust in the power of love. But the courage to face this risk opens the door for profound depth, meaning, and impact throughout our life and relationships.

In the end, wisely consider who you share your inner world with, as everyone cannot be trusted. But courageously bear your true self with your trusted others to take your relationships out of the shallows and into the deep.

Photo by Sir Manuel on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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