It’s true. We all have secrets; “things” buried deep within that we hope never dig their way out. Whether it’s a painful past or a drunken rampage or something really embarrassing that you fear might ruin your career or integrity, for most people there is something lingering beneath the surface.
Some people refer to these secrets as skeletons in the closet. But are all secrets that bad? What about surprise parties or guilty pleasures? Do you really need to share your love of eating cake at midnight with your partner or spouse? Unless it’s become a problem – causing health or other issues – probably not. The truth is, not all secrets are horrible monsters waiting to destroy everything they touch. Some are healthy and perfectly normal – such as hiding a secret stash of candy in your closet. Oh, come on now. Don’t judge. People keep secrets for all kinds of reasons.
What about those bigger secrets – like drug or alcohol addiction or breaking the law in some way? Can these types of secrets hurt a person both physically and emotionally? The answer is a resounding, yes. Studies have shown that keeping some secrets increases the body stress response, can cause depression, increase anxiety and so on. In other words, some secrets can actually make us sick.
What should you do if a secret you’ve been keeping is causing you physical or emotional stress? The simple answer is…consider getting it off of your chest. Telling your secret may make you feel better. But it’s important to weigh the decision before unburdening yourself. Divulging some secrets can do more harm than good.
So how do you tell the difference between the kind of secret you should keep and the kind you shouldn’t? Here’s a good rule of thumb used by many experts: the kind of secrets that shouldn’t be kept are those that allow us to behave in a way that causes harm to others or to ourselves – keeping these kind of secrets allows the detrimental behavior to continue.
You might be wondering why I’m writing this post. Well, the truth is, I have a secret that falls into the “bigger” category. No, it’s nothing related to drug or alcohol addiction. And I’ve never committed murder or done anything illegal. It’s something in my past that is very painful. For me, keeping it a secret is the only option. I will take this burden to my death bed. It’s strange, but in some ways this secret has defined who I am today. I’m stronger, less willing to put up with bulls*** and determined to make sure my children never experience the pain I did at such a young age. By writing this post, I’m hoping to release some of the stress it has caused me over the years and possibly help others make a difficult decision, to tell or to not tell.
On a less serious note, I do have a few “smaller” secrets that I am willing to share with you:
- Every now and then, I like to take a swig of butter-flavored pancake syrup right out of the bottle. Sssshhh. I know.
- I haven’t bought a new pair of underwear in almost five years! Mine now resemble dishcloths that got beat up by the garbage disposal.
- I rarely separate whites from the rest of the clothing when doing laundry. I loathe doing laundry. It’s the bane of my existence. Don’t like it? Do it yourself.
What about you? Do you have a secret you’re willing to share? Fess up in the comments!