As children most of us played some form of hide-and-seek. It was fun to find a great hiding place and never be found. But eventually the game ends and those who were not discovered reveal themselves to their playmates by coming out in the open.
However, many adults continue their own version of this game. They hide parts of themselves in hopes of never being discovered. Many, many times I have heard my therapy clients tell me, “If people knew what I was really like, they wouldn’t want to be with me.” Hiding our inner selves, keeping our secrets from others, is seen as a way to avoid rejection. We can’t imagine anyone liking us, much less loving us, if they knew the “real me.”
It is scary to begin the slow process of opening up to another person. But it is the only way we can ever experience being unconditionally accepted. Look for potentially safe people around you. Then take baby steps to reveal a little more about yourself. If the response from the other is positive, share some more. In this way you can let yourself be known gradually. Becoming transparent to another human being can be both frightening and one of the most rewarding things you can ever do.