What Level of Discretion is Healthy?
How should you deal with information that either nobody wants to hear, or you’re too embarrassed for others to know? Perhaps you’re afraid of the consequences. The way it will change your life. The way other people will see you. At times, it may feel like you are dying a thousand deaths to keep this information covered up, but is it really better to confess? Today we look at the spiritual science behind when secrets are appropriate, when they aren’t, their health effects, and everything else in between.
More Harm Than Good
Research suggests as many as three out of four people are leading a secret life. Secrets are introduced in our youth. It is practically a rite of passage to keep some things from adults. Hoarding the power of truth makes us feel unique and independent. As our childhood secrets mature, something very unfortunate can happen. One secret leads to others, and before we know it, we are living a life coded in isolation. Over time, secrets can grow into a large web of mistrust. What follows is a shut down in communication and intimacy within our relationships. Instead of the individual hiding their secret, the secret take control, and the individual is forced into hiding.
What you’re hiding today could do more harm than you realize. While there is not a lot of research on this topic, there are certainly a lot of theories about the toxic nature of secrets, and how they can take a toll on our spiritual and physical being. It is in our nature to want to share ourselves, and when we stifle this need, it can drain our psychic energy, creating physical ailments, such as anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic stress, and a weakened immune system.
Signs You’re Holding a Secret That Even You Don’t Want to Know
Some secrets have been cast so far away in our mind, they become a mysterious anxiety, exhaustion, or fear. Some cheating wives and husbands become so focused on hiding their indiscretions, they avoid answering the big question: Why am I cheating in the first place?
Here are 10 signs a deep set secret could be at the root of your grief.
1. In constant need of distraction (television, alcohol, eating, etc.)
2. Use excuses to get out of going to social functions
3. Have difficulty sharing feelings
4. Routinely avoid certain subjects without explanation
5. Feel sad or depressed without reason
6. Fear change
7. Low self esteem
8. Believe you can’t be yourself or others won’t like you
9. Frequently experience manic happiness, followed by depression
10. Use silent treatment to deal with your anger
Digging in the Dirt
While we live in a society of sharing our secrets through AA meetings and 12-step programs, it has been shown in studies that some secrets are not as damaging as others. In fact, in certain circumstances a secret can be the better alternative to drop kicking the can of beans. The difference between a healthy and unhealthy secret, is whether or not they habitually manifest themselves into many parts of your life. For instance, if you feel shameful about confessing your favorite desert topping or the number of strokes you had during a game of miniature golf, you may be holding onto more than your fair share of secrecy. This can lead to chronic stress, mistrust, and health problems. In this case, you would fare best to relieve some of that burden.
In contrast, secrets that are held to protect the image of either yourself or others, may promote less anxiety and guilt, thus increasing your overall health and humor. Some secrets do not devour our intimate relationships, but preserve them. The difference is within your urgency to keep them hidden. A healthy secret is not hurting you or others. It could never be used as blackmail, as there is nobody you wouldn’t tell if you thought it would do more good than harm.
Pssst, Want to Know a Secret?
The majority of our fears and failures should be shared with our partner, close friends, or loved ones. The act of secrecy makes us inaccessible to love, robbing our relationships of their intimacy and communication. Never fret showing your partner who you really are, as they will most likely love you regardless. If they don’t, you’re better off without them. The only time a secret is acceptable, is if it is harmless and relatively unimportant. The more adamant you are about hiding something, the more fearful you are of being found, then the more crucial it is that secret makes its way out!