What I Don’t Want You to Know About Me

I once participated in a weekend training that included a process called “What I Don’t Want You To Know About Me.” We took turns standing up and telling the rest of the group, “What I don’t want you to know about me is…” And then we’d proceed to reveal something we’d rather not reveal. 

I noticed that the more resistance someone had to sharing something, the more potentially cathartic was the experience of doing so. (Note to anyone planning to try this at the dinner table tonight: this was in an intimate and highly supportive setting.) Those on the receiving end of each confession were instructed neither to recoil in disgust nor to smile reassuringly. The process continued until no one had anything left. In this email I’m going to detail some of the juiciest things I heard. 

Hey, don’t get so excited. It was all confidential, of course, and it was 20 years ago. I don’t even remember what any of us said. But I do intensely remember the feelings. First, when the instructor announced how the process would go, I felt panic and nausea. Then when I had nothing left to share, I felt FREE. 

One of our most common fears is being rejected by the people we care about, and we often believe they would reject us if they knew our secrets or if we didn’t behave a certain way. We’re usually wrong about this (they probably won’t reject us). But even when we’re right – and they do reject us – we get the opportunity to explore whether this matters to us (and why), to see how we’re affected by a desire for others’ approval, and to learn about self-approval (which we often withhold).  

In this spirit, I’d like to share something I don’t want you to know about me. The longer I do this teaching/healing work, the more I find myself in a position of sharing guidance, and I very much want to be seen as someone who walks his talk. So it’s uncomfortable to admit that although my wife and I created the Dreambook (the world’s best organizer/planner/life-transformer), I can still be a very disorganized, messy, and planning-resisting person. There have been many days when my own Dreambook is completely blank!

However, I inevitably begin to feel somehow “off” when I’m not organized in my mind and schedule. I get more stressed, I lose track of things, I have unproductive days, but most disturbing is a difficult-to-describe feeling that things just aren’t right. Luckily, life always falls back into place when I return to good planning. As soon as I begin planning, treating my plan as a set of agreements with myself, and honoring those agreements, it’s like a magical alignment happens. I feel more at ease, serendipities occur, and I’m optimistic. 

So I’m calling myself out (with forgiveness, of course) for neglecting the practices that would make me happier. In doing so, I hope to encourage all of us to reclaim the energy we’ve been investing in suppressing feelings of hypocrisy or hiding what we think others would disapprove of. I also mean this as a reminder to me and you that the benefits of healthy practices are ours again as soon as we return to them. And if you don’t yet have a copy of the 2022 Dreambook+Planner, I hope you’ll get one and try it – it’s our best version yet. 

Be well, 

Peter

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