In the black community, it’s common to hear people say, “Don’t put your business in the street.” I know lots of other groups say similar things: You don’t talk about money, keep it in the family, keep it behind closed doors, talking about (insert thing) is uncouth, etc. They’re all an easy way of saying that it’s better to keep your flaws and weaknesses close to the vest so no one can exploit them.
In some situations, this is good advice: Dave in marketing wants your job, Keisha gossips around the neighborhood and that bitch Carol on the PTA board definitely has it out for you. Even though there are some people who spend their days exploiting other’s weaknesses, in truth, there are many more good reasons why you should be putting your personal problems out in the street.
You learn who your real friends are
It’s easy to be friends with someone when you never discuss or reveal anything more than surface preferences. When you start telling your whole truth, some people will suddenly disappear or turn on you. Truth is like a magical fake ass bitch repellant.
Secrets are only fun when they’re a secret
If no one knows your secret shame, then anyone who happens to find out will have power over you. If everyone knows, the secret has lost all value.
You control the narrative
When you’re the one telling the story, you can tell it when, where and how you want. You won’t be at the mercy of gossip and whispers if you say it loud and proud. Olivia Pope definitely would recommend this strategy for an inevitable political scandal.
You make others feel like they’re not alone
When we’re dealing with issues that we’ve never seen others deal with, it can be an isolating experience. If you share what you’re going through, others who have, are or will go through the same will know they aren’t alone and that things can get better.
You make yourself feel less alone
Not everyone who has, will or is going through what you’re experiencing will speak up and share their experience in kind. Even still, since more problems are universal than we think, there’s bound to be someone who will take your action as a beacon to reach out.
Unexpected people can provide insight
Since we don’t know who’s gone through what just by looking or even knowing them for decades, we often seek help from those who we feel comfortable sharing with. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean they can offer help in every situation. There are tons of people in this world who are just aching to be the helping hand they never had, while others simply are better at helping than you’d believe.
You learn that weakness gets stronger if you show it
If something hurts, we usually don’t touch it or do it. If that something is a feeling, memory or something else we don’t have to deal with all the time, it’s easy to forget it’s there. So, each and every time it gets re-exposed, we’re left in just as much pain as the day it happened. When you start feeling the feeling and exposing it to prying eyes on your own terms, the pain starts to go away quickly. Even the simple act of bringing it out of your head for others to see will help your perspective change. Sometimes that alone is enough to make a huge difference.