There is a saying that we are as sick as our deepest secret. What happens when we keep what we see as our most shameful or hurtful secret to ourselves?
Secrets have a tendency to fester and grow until they consume us. They can infect our mental, physical and spiritual health and because we don’t reach out to someone else for comfort, guidance, healing, or even a listening ear, we feel alone. The secret most often takes on a life of its own. It can double, triple and often quadruple in our minds. Are we really objective about our own transgressions or do we minimize or maximize?
If we stay in our own heads, we are not exposed to reason or forgiveness of others or ourselves. Most often, when we hold secrets concerning our emotions, circumstances, incidents or missteps, the knowledge becomes like a splinter. It may start out like a splinter of minor thought, action or event but it festers into a pus filled volcano of emotion that can no longer be contained. That emotion can take the form of anger, confusion or sadness. Have you ever exploded at someone in unreasonable circumstances and wondered, “Where did that come from?” We have shamed, blamed and punished ourselves for so long that the pressure has built up to a point where it can no longer be contained.
Am I suggesting that you open up to everyone you know? No way! Choosing who you tell is as important as the telling. Choose someone with whom you feel totally comfortable. Sometimes a total stranger can be that person because they can be unbiased and have nothing to gain by betraying your confidence. Trust is an important ingredient in choosing someone to whom you are willing to expose your vulnerability. I ask myself if the secret is just too juicy for them not to repeat?
There is often a worry that we are putting someone on the spot by asking them to keep our secrets. When you are put into the position where you feel that the secret needs to be repeated, just remind yourself that it is not your story to tell. If our confider wanted others to know, they would have told them. By repeating the secret, we are telling them that they were right not to confide in anyone and next time they won’t and are back to square one. Also, repeating the secret to someone who may be affected will inhibit the confider’s opportunity to work through the situation on their own. Confronting or admitting deep held secrets is an opportunity to grow and/or gain confidence.
Even the word “Secret” has taken on a bad word connotation as in: not being nice to keep secrets, secret life, secret meeting or secret bank account etc. I rarely have secrets that I have not confided in someone. Some think that I should not “tell on myself” but I choose to live happy, joyous and free and to me that means purging myself of my secrets and accepting forgiveness even if that forgiveness is only my own.