It wedges me between a rock and a seriously hard place, you know… when the people you love tell me the secrets they should probably be telling you. The secrets they wish they could tell you. The secrets they are desperate to tell you. The secrets that they might not ever tell you.

Your wife told me a secret. She feels intimidated by you. You really scare her sometimes with your temper. She’s been keeping it bottled up for years and she’s about to break. She’s terrified of what will happen if she talks to you about it.

Your dad told me a secret. He secretly doubts the religion you share and wishes he could leave it. He’s been thinking about it for years. And he’s scared to death that your entire family will reject him if he tells you. He told me he’s come to learn that he’ll have to be miserable for life so that your mom will stay with him.

Your husband told me a secret. He doesn’t believe the same things you do. He doesn’t see anything wrong with drinking socially sometimes. He misses the freedom he had before you met when he had a say in what was right and wrong for himself. It’s been that way since you met, and he’s thinking about sneaking behind your back to get it back.

Your daughter told me a secret. She feels like you force her to go to church. She pretends to be sick most Sundays because it’s the only way you’ll leave her alone about it. She doesn’t understand why she is almost thirty and her life is not her own. And she’s afraid that if she even talks to you about it you’ll cut off your support for her.

Secrets.

Secrets.

Secrets.

From your husband. From your wife.

From your children. From your parents.

From cousins. From aunts. From uncles.

From brothers. From sisters.

From in-laws.

From ex-in-laws.

From neighbors.

From colleagues.

From strangers, even.

Secrets.

My biggest question is, why are the people you “love” telling me their secrets? And why aren’t they telling them to you?

In almost every case, I should be way down the list of people who “need to know”.

Yet for some reason, the people you “love” feel comfortable telling me their secrets. They feel safe telling me their secrets.

And they don’t feel comfortable and safe telling you.

You.

The one that “loves” them most.

Think about that for a second. Really think about it. Because it doesn’t sit right with me, either.

It wedges me between a rock and a seriously hard place, you know… when the people you love tell me the secrets they should probably be telling you. The secrets they wish they could tell you. The secrets they are desperate to tell you. The secrets that they might not ever tell you.

You don’t know how hard it is sometimes, when I am given  unsolicited information that sometimes leaves me little choice but to do or say something to try and assuage the situation.

And then after I do, you sit across from me and glare at me. Angry that the person you “love” most would tell me something they wouldn’t tell you.

You.

My friend.

A person I love.

Are angry with me. Because somebody you love told me something that they really should have told you.

I didn’t ask them to. And I can see why you’re upset.

In fact, I agree with you.

They should have told you.

They should have felt comfortable enough to tell you.

They should have felt safe enough to tell you.

They should have felt like you would respect their intelligence, their wants, their desires, their beliefs, and their needs.

They should have felt like you weren’t going to judge them for what they were feeling. They should have felt like you weren’t going to punish them for what they were needing. They should have felt like…

Oh, I don’t know…

Maybe like you loved them.

No matter what.

And that you’d support them.

No matter what.

Yet you sit across from me. And are angry with me. Because somebody you “love” most told me a secret that they didn’t tell you.

Don’t be angry with me.

Instead ask… why.

Why me, and not you.

And then fix it.

Please.

I don’t want to know these secrets that should be yours.

It’s a heavy burden to carry.

And I don’t really know why they tell me.

I do wonder though…

I wonder if they tell me their secrets because they know I won’t judge them. I wonder if they tell me their secrets because they know I will love them unconditionally. I wonder if they tell me their secrets because they understand just how imperfect I am and also just how okay I am with that imperfection.

Oh, but Dan, the person I love most wouldn’t tell you the secrets they should be telling me. Everything is good between us. And if it’s not good, it definitely isn’t bad enough for that to be happening.

Ummm… Are you sure about that?

Are you really sure about that?

I’m not.

And based on what I know, you really shouldn’t be either.

But there’s only one way to know.

Tell them you want them to know that their life is theirs to do everything they want with it. Tell them you are just here to love them. Tell them you will always be here to love them. And mean it.

Ask them if they really believe what they feel they are required to believe. Tell them it’s okay if they do and promise them it’s okay if they don’t. Tell them you love them no matter what they believe. And mean it.

Ask them if you ever scare them. And be sincere in your desire for a truthful answer.

Ask them if they feel safe when they’re with you to live the way they really want to live. And ask honestly.

Tell them that nothing they could say or feel could make you stop loving them. Tell them that if anything, it might get you to thinking about some things, too. And mean it.

Tell them you love them. And mean it.

But even more importantly, show them that you love them.

And just… see. See what happens. See if you don’t learn something about this person you love that you didn’t know before.

See if you learn some poignant truth that moments before you didn’t know existed.

I promise you, it is truth you want from the people you love, even if you think you don’t want it. Because you do love them. I know you do. And so do I. And I love you. And the honest reality is, there don’t need to be any secrets at all.

Just love.

Because when the only thing that exists is love…

When the fear of judgment is gone, when the fear of anger is gone, when the fear of inferiority is gone, when the fear of the next big fight is gone, when the fear of rejection is gone, and when the fear of you no longer loving them anymore is gone…

And the only thing that exists is love…

Then there will never be a need for secrets, at all.

Ever.

Why are the people you love telling me their secrets instead of you? And why are you telling me the secrets you should be telling the person you love most?

Maybe it’s time we all take a closer look at that.

Please.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Would really appreciate your comments today. Do you feel like people keep secrets from you? Why? Do you feel like you are one that people bring their secrets to? Why?

I wrote this post as more of a personal letter to so many of the people in my own life. There is no doubt that one of the most shocking things I’ve learned since finally living life for myself is that so many people have secrets that they’re desperate to share with those they love. And of course, if I’ve learned anything about my life, it’s that so many other people are probably experiencing the same thing and so I wonder if both the intent of the post came through, and the universalness of it.

This is the eighth post of The Happiness Dynamic Series. A little while back, I published Whose Life is it Anyway which sparked a much greater multi-day discussion of happiness here on Single Dad Laughing. To view all the posts in this series, click here.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!