Quotes by Sidney Jourard

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If we want to be loved, we must disclose ourselves. If we want to love someone, he must permit us to know him. This would seem to be obvious. Yet most of us spend a great part of our lives thinking up ways to avoid becoming known. Indeed, much of human life is best described as impersonation. We are role players, every one of us. We say that we feel things we do not feel. We say things we did not do. We say that we believe things we do not believe. We pretend that we are loving when we are full of hostility. We pretend that we are calm and indifferent when we are actually trembling with anxiety and fear. Of course we cannot tell even the people we know and love everything we think or feel. But our mistakes are nearly always in the other direction. Even in families -- good families -- people wear masks a great deal of the time.

Paradoxically, we fail to disclose ourselves to other people because we want so much to be loved. Because we feel that way we present ourselves as someone we think can be loved and accepted, and we conceal whatever would mar that image. Another reason we hide is to protect ourselves from change. . . Still another reason we don't disclose ourselves is that we were never taught how. . . Personal ambitions and economic pressures also give us powerful reasons for concealing what we really are. . . All of us hide behind the iron curtain of our public selves. . . Men hide what prevents them from seeming strong and masculine. . . Disclosure is so important (because) without it we really cannot know ourselves. Or to put it another way, we learn to deceive ourselves while we are trying to deceive others. For example, if I never express my sorrow, my love, my joy, I'll smother those feelings in myself until I almost forget they were once part of me.
Perhaps the most important reason for self-disclosure is that without it we cannot truly love.