Question: Keeping secrets from the people you love is not supposed to be good for relationships, according to many sources I have read.

Secrets build walls, create distance, and do not allow the people you love to see the real you.

My question to you is this: If I did some things that I'm not proud of when I was a young person and feel that if I tell those that love me as I am now, this information may affect the way they feel about me and cause me to feel great pain and shame in disclosing the truth.

I feel that people would not trust me again if they knew about my past which includes lying, stealing, prostitution, cheating on my boyfriends, bisexuality, and very poor work habits.

I have forgiven myself and the perpetrators. Is it really important that those who love me know all of the details of my painful past? My ancient history will likely disappoint and potentially ruin my relationships.

I don't believe that what I did in the past reflects on who I am now, except that I am stronger and in many ways a more compassionate person. My sad behaviors were a result of extreme sexual abuse, beatings, and neglect as a child. I've done much to help myself heal, and now I do not want to be judged or pitied. I do not want to dredge up the past. I really want to move on and be free of it.

Will any real good come of bringing up the past, which will likely shock and disgust everyone? I would like to keep my past private but feel that if this is hiding the truth and creating distance in my relationships then it is ultimately self defeating.

It is said that "The truth will set you free." Is this really true? It feels more like an albatross. I would appreciate your guidance on this subject and hope that you will have an answer for me.

Answer: Hello, dear one, and thank you for this wonderful question. Alana can feel the courage, strength, and determination in your nature directing your life toward happiness and guiding who you are today.

First let's discuss what the phrase, "The truth shall set you free" could mean.

These words can be a very empowering statement. This is what Alana feels the phrase of words represents: If we are holding something in our nature, and it is a weight within us that immobilizes us, and it is something we have not yet come to terms with (we have not accepted what we are holding within), then it is a burden on our lives. Therefore, we have to gain clarity "within" and we must be honest with ourselves before we can be free.

We really have to examine what this phrase means before we can define the essence of the words into an absolute. When it comes to sharing our truths with others, there is no cookie-cutter process.

Let's discuss the topic of the past a little bit. The past is just that, it is experiences that are behind. Your past contains many treasures and gems that have shaped who you are today, and these resources may have been disguised as actions you could judge. Any feelings like shame, unworthiness, and self-judgment that you still hold about your past bring these disempowering energies into the present.

From the present our projections move them into your future.

So, part of becoming free is the realization that the past is what has shaped who you are today. It is a wonderful part of you when you realize how it has served you. What is so important now is the realization of what you have learned and how the past has shaped who you are today. It is your choice what you share with each individual that you are building a relationship with. Approach each person as an individual. Relationships are created through co-creative energy and differ depending on the values and energy of each person.

Now, sense who you are and which relationships you would like to deepen in your life. Which relationships do you feel that having secrets could be getting in the way of deepening your levels of intimacy? If it is a young person, perhaps they do not yet have the ability to reason the implicate nature of your past. Sharing with them may be left until they are more able to reason with full awareness if you so choose.

For people with whom you're very close, you could have a conversation about your love for them and their love for you. You could share that your capacity to love was created from what you learned from your life experiences. You may share that you are more comfortable with letting the past go and putting it behind you. Then you could ask this person if they can be in agreement with you. They may say yes or they may say no.

If they say yes, then you can celebrate a deeper level of intimacy because you no longer need to worry about them judging you on the merits or content of your past. If they say no, then the next step would be to have a conversation with them about the values you both hold today.

You will have to trust them to be who they are. Most likely sharing will create a transformative process in your relationship. It again may deepen levels of intimacy. If they judge you after you inform them, then you will know now rather than later that their love was built upon their projections of who they thought you were versus who you really are today.

Now, "The truth will set you free" has another co-implication. An ideal relationship is one in which there is mutual respect for one another and a desire to support the relationship in its growth from the present moment forward.

Each individual you know is different. Some earn the right to build deeper levels of relating. Others may not. Realize that if you are at peace, you will project peace. If you are in turmoil, then no matter how much you open, share, and define yourself, the turmoil will carry into the future. As you find peace, acceptance, and understanding of how your past shaped the beautiful you that you are today, then that is the energy that will come forward into your future with you.

Examine the various individuals in your life, and you will know if you wish to have a conversation with them or not. Alana has a feeling that eventually you will be very proud of your entire life. You will hold it dearly because all aspects of your life have been teachers to you. It might be that what you have learned in your life will facilitate you in teaching others.

To sum up, we cannot generalize the answer to your question to be the same for all individuals in your life. I trust that you will be able to sense from the inside who to exchange with and how you can best support one another.

Thank you, dear one, for this beautiful question. Alana wishes you much love and happiness.