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Daring to Be Real: The Healing Power of Truth



The place was called Concept House - a substance abuse rehab center located in Little Haiti, an unremarkable section in Miami, Florida. I went there when I reached my life's bottom and the darkest night of my soul. 


My experience at Concept House was a defining time in my life. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. Shortly after I arrived, I ended up in a group of twenty people or so. One person from the group, a young woman, shared her deepest darkest secret. She spoke about a profoundly shameful event she went through. I suspect most people would take that story to their grave rather than let anyone know about it.


The senses of those who were present to hear her story were shocked. Her sharing was before a group of people who were not easily shocked by anything. This motley crew had heard, seen, or been part of nearly everything you could imagine. Yet, we were stunned to silence by what we were hearing. It was so disturbing that I chose not to write about it here. It was a taboo that went against all norms of a civilized society.


I could not help but think about how much courage she took to share her story before a group of people she hardly knew. After the session, nearly everyone present expressed heartfelt admiration for her; we looked up to her like she was a superhero.


Until I read Brene’ Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, I hadn’t thought about this event for over thirty years. Brown wrote that, for us to live in a place of worthiness, we must, among other things, have the courage to speak honestly and openly about who we are, what we're feeling, and the totality of our experiences - the good and the bad.


After the young woman shared, it gave me and several other group members the courage to talk about secrets we had never considered sharing with anyone. Interestingly, I discovered the acts I and others committed were significant only in our minds and weren’t a big deal to anyone else. 


When we reveal secrets we usually keep to ourselves (preferably to a compassionate and accepting group), we unleash the emotional charge behind them. We end up feeling better when we are open and honest with others. We are also relieved that people feel more positive toward us for being open instead of thinking the worst of us.


If we continue to be on the lookout for secrets we hold onto that we keep from ourselves and others, we discover when we release them, we remove blocks that tie us up in knots and hold us back from being the vital expressions of God we are here to be. 


Peace and Blessings,

James

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