Unpredictability: The Process of Unanticipated Discovery and Insight
This third implication provides a cautionary note to balance off the encouragement to disclose that is inherent in the first and second implications. The third implication is based on the concerns often voiced by the British school regarding indiscriminate disclosure. As I have repeatedly noted, when we disclose, there is a witness (or multiple witnesses) to this disclosure. I have also noted that something becomes more of a reality when it is witnessed. We must be careful about disclosure, therefore, for we may be dipping into a repository of unacknowledged or unprocessed information about ourselves (from Quad Four).
We are entering into new territory once our disclosure is witnessed and once there is a reaction to this disclosure. As long as I keep my “secrets” to myself, I can speculate all I want about how other people will receive this disclosure. Yet, when I actually observe the reactions I am likely to discover something unanticipated about myself. For example, I might find that I am more defensive than I had previously anticipated when recipients of my disclosure indicate that they are surprised about the information that I have disclosed. Why am I defensive? Did I think that these other people already knew this about me? Am I participating in my own self-fulfilling prophecy (“See, I knew that she would react badly to this disclosure.”)
Alternatively, I might be surprised that the recipients of my disclosure already know this about me. Have I been leaking my Quad Three material to such an extent that it already resides in other people’s Quad Two about me? Why haven’t these other people shared this Quad Two material with me? Why does it take my own disclosure (Quad Three) for other people to give me feedback (from their Quad Two)?
Does my disclosure and my colleagues’ subsequent feedback (“I already know this about you”) change our relationship—not so much because my colleagues now know something new about me, but instead because we can now talk about something that we have all already known for some period of time? This material has resided in my own Quad Three and in the other people’s Quad Two for an unknown period of time. For how long has it been in my third quadrant? And how long has it been in their second quadrant? It can now reside in our shared Quad One. Is the real issue in our relationship one of trusting one another to own up to both our Quad Two and Quad Three material?