There are so many ways one can interpret the statement I?m just a private person. I?ve experienced two distinct implications that I believe, capture the essence of what people are trying to say.
The first is that they do not like the spotlight, fame, or added attention. These individuals stay to themselves and keep a quiet life away from the crowds and noise of it all.
They are not one to voluntarily put their business, thoughts or views on social media or any public setting. While they choose to stay recluse from the mainstream, they do not particularly withhold personal information from people they have granted access to their private space.
They are incredibly open with the people that are in their inner circle. Willing to share with all manner of transparency.
Now the second implication of the phrase I?m a private person has some overlap to the previous one. Yet, this group of individuals, however, have quite a bit of cognitive dissonance.
Yep, I said it.
I recycled the overly used psychology term, but it is incredibly appropriate and applicable for this example. You see the second set of people who say they are private people operate in a manner that is convenient for them.
The privacy works to their personal defense and advantage.
Meaning, they say they are private as a warning to others to not ask any personal questions or delve into their inner thoughts or space. The main reason they say this is because they don?t want to be found out.
They don?t want to be discovered.
If people were to get to the core or find out any bit of internal discovery about that person then they would have grounds for making decisions or soliciting opinions about them.
So this group of people who say they are private would rather not have people enter into this space because they do not want to risk being discovered.
Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash
Discovery to them is frightening because it can lead to anything:
- Admittance to failures and flaws
The list goes on.
Even the most externally confident person can put this wall of privacy up in order to defend their territory.
While the stakes are high, and the risk is real, what these private people, unfortunately, miss out on is the chance to connect at a deeper level with someone else.
This level of intimacy is incredibly powerful and life-giving in many ways. It?s a transformative and wonderful experience that remains untapped by those who choose to remain private.
Some Privacy is Good Though
Having said all this, I do believe that it is wise to guard one?s heart and create healthy boundaries with people. Because everybody does not seek good or to connect in an intimately positive way.
There are some people who choose to enter in for the purpose of dismantling, manipulating and controlling. We need to use our discernment to recognize these individuals and keep the privacy wall up.
These are not individuals who deserve our intimate space.
Photo by Patrick Baum on Unsplash
Back to the Cognitive Dissonance
I was discussing the topic of private people with a friend recently and they relayed back to me their take on it. They said:
It?s amazing that the people who say they are private are the main one?s putting all their business out there and telling you everything about them.
? anonymous friend
Cognitive dissonance at it?s best folks.
It is true what my friend said, as I?ve experienced this from a few people myself. Including one encounter not too long before the conversation, I had with my friend.
I met a lady who told me all the depths of her life in the first few days of knowing her. Yet, she told me that she stopped going to small churches and getting involved in small group settings because it was too much for her.
When I asked her to elaborate she said people were getting too close into her personal life and providing feedback that she didn?t like.
So I guess to her she could do the dance of convenience when it was to her liking and benefit, but when things got too close for comfort she then became private.
In my ebook Conversation Starters, I talk about individuals who take this stance with their faith when they say my faith is private. They often profess a certain faith in secret but when it comes time to boldly declare where they stand, they shrink back into their private faith.
I certainly get it, who willingly wants the persecution and pushback of it all. Avoiding conflict is easier and requires less energy.
Trust me I get it.
This is one of the reasons I said no to all the people who told me to start a podcast or begin speaking publicly. I didn?t want (nor have the energy) to receive all the negative feedback and disagreement.
Change the Privacy Perspective
But it?s all in how you look at it right?
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
How you prepare for the uncharted territory, quite possibly, can determine how well you will handle it. Perhaps, expecting the potential for things to not turn out in your favor could set you up to be ready to handle the replies.
Perhaps, having neutrality of identity affirmation from the praise and rejection of people?s comments is another way to journey through it.
What I mean by this is, when you decide to open up and share what?s intimately connected to you and other people either compliment you or condemn you – you don?t allow that feedback to validate you as a person.
That feedback does not boost you up or tear you down.
You remain solid in the foundational identity that you brought to the table and you simply say thank you or I?m sorry you feel that way.
Now don?t get me wrong we shouldn?t just discard all things and think our way of thinking is 100% right. Or that we don?t need to change and receive feedback regarding our ways.
Being this close-minded is no good either.
Yet, when we put our need for affirmation in the fate of people as our ultimate defining identity that is where we get out of whack.
And that is why, I believe, a lot of people choose to say they are private people because they have not secured identity in a source that has already validated and affirmed them.
We all have a choice to be as open or as private as we so choose. But I hope, after reading this, if you are one of those people who say they are private to re-examine the true motivations of why you proclaim to be as such.