Private conversations, if done the right way and with the right person, are tremendously powerful for personal growth and professional development. These conversations are often difficult to have, especially in the culture where true privacy and trust are such a rare commodity. Clients often begin our conversations with apprehension: “You’re probably going to think this is weird…” or “This probably makes me a terrible person…” or “This will not sound very normal, but …”
Interestingly, in most cases, their stories are not weird or unique, their confessions about their feelings do not make them terrible people, and their seemingly terrifying secret thoughts are pretty common for adult life.
The world may not be ready for your thoughts and feelings, so it is understandable for you to keep them private (and feel like an impostor as a result: “if they only knew what I really think and feel, they would kick me out.”). Eventually, (often through a deep, soulful, private conversation with someone you trust) you figure out whether these thoughts and feelings are “keepers”, and what you should do next.
Such private conversations are sacred and powerful. They help us create a harmonious narrative about who we truly are, where we want to go, and how we fit into the world. The smarter you are, the more interesting and creative you are, the bigger mountains you are moving in the world, the more you need private conversations with a trusted partner, a wise mentor or teacher, a best friend, a loving parent, with a great coach or psychologist.
A powerful private conversation is effective only with someone who:
-deeply cares about you
-truly sees, hears and understands you
-has your best interest in mind (which is always about the way you want to feel)
-has your respect and trust
-keeps your confidentiality
-does not judge you by your thoughts and feelings
-creates a sense of safety and acceptance for you in the conversation
-provides useful feedback without judgement or censorship
-has the wisdom and experience to see from multiple perspectives.
What you get from a powerful private conversation is:
– tremendous relief from being able to freely explore all/any corners of your mind and soul
-a shift from feeling “secretly screwed up” or unlovable to being understood and accepted
-understanding what is harmonious to you by your own standards (vs. socially enforced)
-figuring out what you stand for
-a mirror to truly see and hear yourself
-safety in which you can process all of your thoughts and feelings
– a nursery for your thoughts and feelings to mature (or be tucked away, if you decide) before they meet the rest of the world.
Imagine having a pillow talk with your partner: a person with whom you have mutual trust, love and acceptance. If you are lucky, you can say anything in that conversation. Together you can discuss and shape your ideas until they truly become a harmonious fit for you, and you are ready to face the world with them.
Now, imagine your pillow talk being recorded and listened to by others.
Your first though (omitting the swears) might be along the lines of “How embarrassing!!!” And next, “I sound so bad!”
Yet, just the night before, both you and your partner were perfectly comfortable in that conversation, without feeling like terrible people. Why do you feel differently when the conversation becomes public?
When your child retells at school a private conversation you’ve had over dinner at home, without understanding the gravity of her actions, why is it a problem?
When a private letter you write to your father becomes front page news (as in an unfortunate case for Meghan Markle), or your private text to your lover becomes the talk of the town (oh, Jeff Bezos), why is it a problem? (No, I am not linking to either one of these stories.)
If you are an honest person, you should theoretically be able to say in public what you say in private; otherwise, you are a two-faced liar, right?
Private conversations are a part of mental and emotional self-maintenance and self-care, and it is best when they remain private (think of showering, using a restroom, shaving, or beautifying as physical equivalents of such self-maintenance).
Deep private conversations are a way for you to safely process your thoughts and feelings before you are ready to face the world with them. “Inconvenience”, non-standard way of seeing, does not make your thoughts and feelings wrong. You just first need to figure it all out privately. This is how we grow.
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Please, let me know if you want to talk about any of this (just reply to this newsletter or email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com). Also, if you’ve read all the way up to here, thank you for the gift of your attention. I’m thankful we are connected.