There was an interesting article in The Atlantic by Lori Gottlieb entitled, “Some men share their secrets only in therapy.” Gottlieb, who is a therapist, noted that men in therapy often say, “I’ve never told anyone else this before.” “I think that speaks volumes about how isolated men can be, how isolated in their struggles,” suggests Gottlieb.
Men typically tend to avoid emotional intimacy with another. This can spell trouble at home and in our marriages. Men are reluctant to share because they do not want to appear weak. “It just shows,” noted Gottlieb, “how much shame there is for men around talking about anything that feels vulnerable to them.”
Michael Stepian of Columbia University’ business school thinks men resist sharing because it goes against stereotypically masculine values. A person would confide a secret to get help. “And confiding a secret to another person, it’s also an act of intimacy…That kind of warmth and sociality and intimacy is also stereotypically more feminine.” Men tend to emphasize “agency, independence and autonomy,” which gives the impression of not needing any help with any of those hidden secrets. .
Men, it is vital that we expose our secrets. Our secrets have a life of their own within our souls. They spread emotional and even rational poison that can distort the way you look at life. Take for example, a long standing anger toward a indifferent father. This can create distorted view of God, other men and those in authority in your life.
We read in Ps. 51:17, “The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.” Why is a broken spirit considered a sacrifice? Because that is just what it is – a sacrifice. Your ego will suffer a blow. Its humbling to share secrets because our self image gets tarnished and our effort at self preservation suffers. But remember I Peter 5:5, “God opposes the proud, but give grace to the humble.”
Being proud and stiff-necked does not allow for the grace of God. Rather our inner resistance walls us off from ourselves, others and God. We live with our secrets, often nursing them in our self-pity and self-hatred. Don’t let that happen to you. If the light begins to shine on our secrets, don’t hide in the cold, lonely place with your secrets.
Only exposure and brutal honesty brings the healing light of Jesus’ presence. As I have mentioned on several occasions recently, I have been going through a rough time in my adjustment to apartment living. I continue to learn some vital lessons that I pass on to you
First, have an open spirit. Cry out to God for mercy, so you have the courage to open the doors to those hidden closets in our soul. St John of the Cross calls them “deep caverns” of the soul. Remember these secrets are buried alive in you. Don’t kid yourself. You are not able to manage and order these secrets. You will never get clarity till you get them out into the light
Secondly, humbly ask God for the ability to receive his love. Yes, this sounds simple, but once you are assured of God’s love you will sense a new vulnerability to share those secrets. Shame is lifted, so you can be honest
Thirdly, be brutally honest in prayer. I often cry out for mercy in my misery. If you don’t pray to the real God, you will not be sharing the real you.
Fourthly, find someone you can trust. God will provide that person. If not a person , then a group of men who are honest about the secrets. You will learn how to share as you listen to other men.