Closer Look – Transparency vs. Privacy vs. Secrecy

In yesterday’s post, I brought up something that deserves some extra attention. I’ve decided to start a new category to share insights into specific topics within my blog posts. These posts will be stand-alone opinion pieces that will (hopefully) invite thought and dialogue. I will not be using links or other’s words in these posts. This is all me, kids!

Transparency vs. Privacy vs. Secrecy: In the realm of self-help, this is actually VERY important.

As we learned yesterday, depression and anxiety can cloud our ability to make wise decisions regarding what to share with others. I know this only too well.

Some might say that I’ve lived what I believe about the subject right here on my blog. I’ve shared some things that fall under all three categories! Never fret, it happens in real life, too. I really am the same in person as you see here. I’m very transparent! So, let’s begin with that one:

TRANSPARENCY

Simplest definition… See-through. Like a clear window or sandwich wrap.

As a personality trait, it is often seen and described as “honesty” or someone who tells it like it is… though I would like to add “without agenda.” Intention is very important here because some folks seem like they’re being honest when they’re actually manipulating. Ever heard the term “Gaslight”? It comes from a movie of the same name (aside: with a very young Angela Lansbury!) and tells the story of a person being led to believe they are going insane. Up is down, left is right and by the end, we know the truth but not before the damage is done. But that’s not what we mean here.

We mean a person who tells their story – their truth – in the purest way possible.

But remember… there are those who use their “honesty” to harm and yes, it’s still honesty. It’s still transparency.

In either case, once you realize you’re dealing with this kind of person, you know what you’re getting.

  • Are you transparent?
  • Is it important to you?
  • What are your intentions?

PRIVACY

Privacy is something I’ve had a great deal of trouble understanding over the years.

I’d say that it is: Information that is shared by one or more people and not shared outside of that person or group. 

As a personality trait, it’s often viewed as a protective measure. It’s more important these days, with all the online scamming, than ever before, but (of course) this is nothing new. Bank passwords, your SS or SI numbers, or personal information like the natural color of your hair or how much you weight… these things have always been private (unless someone’s just lost a ton of weight and now we have to hear how much they weight all the ding-dong time… seriously, please stop it!)

It’s the other things that may fall under this category that confuse me. Things like dreams, spiritual beliefs and fantasies. I’ve discussed many of those things! Ugh.

  • Abuse? I’ve discussed that here.
  • Marriage issues? Check.
  • Money issues? Check.
  • Kid issues? Check.

All of those private? I tend to think so… but sometimes you need to talk things out. Is that what a therapist is for? Friends? Spouses?

So, looking this section over, it seems that transparency (honesty) is about feelings. Personal feelings – YOUR FEELINGS – from beginning to end.

Which leads us to…

SECRECY

I’d say, in its basic form: Hidden from those who are not directly involved.

Easy enough.

Except, the word feels so negative. Doesn’t it?

Secrets often involve others. The sharing of those secrets can have extreme results… everything from a new beginning to an ending. And the in-between promises to be a doozie. I picture chaos.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is infidelity. That pooch thrives in darkness. The more secret, the more exciting it is for the participants. Pretty crappy that our brains are made up that way… but they are.

And God forbid you bring someone else – someone totally uninvolved – into the secretkeeper’s circle. It’s like a festering wound and will, eventually, explode.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Secrets aren’t safe”? They aren’t! But I guess we could say it isn’t the secret itself that’s so damning but the actual deed, whatever it is. Without that, there’d be so secret to keep. But now I’m getting philosophical and weird.

  • Transparency
  • Privacy
  • Secrecy

You know, I sat here typing examples to go with the bulleted words above… about ten times… and erased them.

Why?

Because, by God, I think I finally understand! I have already (and will continue to) share with you transparently. Private things are just that. Private. And gracious God, I have no secrets from anyone.

How are you feeling about these three words now? Have a handle on them? Let me know in the comments!

 

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