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In a previous post, I talked about a few reasons (all related to shame) why mothers may maintain the conspiracy of silence around what mothering is really like. Today’s post talks about why this silence harms us. This is the short version. I’m not sure yet, what form the long version will take.

Silence leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to mistakes, pain and superstition.

Silence leads to shame, which is pain, which we transmit to those around us, especially our children. Shame is almost always destructive (as opposed to guilt, which can be useful). (See Brene Brown’s books.)

Silence is related to power. Those who hold secrets, hold power. (Perhaps in a society in which mothers have so little power, holding on to secrets is one way to feel powerful. Unfortunately, it’s not a useful power. It’s a kind of negative power, a withholding. A master welder would not be justified in withholding key information about what welding involves.)

The truth leads to knowledge (and hopefully wisdom). Knowledge leads to choices, which implies the taking of personal responsibility. Taking responsibility for our choices leads to living a life of authenticity and integrity. I suspect that a life of authenticity and integrity can’t help but be full of joy.

(Although I don’t believe silence is particularly helpful, there are times and places where discretion is the best choice. For example, if telling the truth would harm someone, or cause them to make unwise choices. Or if telling the whole truth would violate someone else’s privacy. There are also times, places and ways to share the truth. Tact, diplomacy and respect are vital.)

There is a lot more to say about this. I’m curious what your reaction is so far!

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