Friday, July 8, 2011

As Sick As Your Secrets

Secrets, secrets, dirty little secrets.  Some are big, some are small, all are toxic.  The secrets I am talking about are the ones about you, not the ones you heard about someone else. That's a monologue for another time.  This is the stuff about you that you would rather no one know.  I've had those.  It started off as self-preservation under the disguise of "it's nobody's business".  It wasn't anyone's business. It was mine.  I had a certain image to maintain.  Doesn't everyone? 

My thoughts then moved to "no one would be better off knowing".  Who would it help anyway if people knew this about me?  So they'd know something I wasn't proud of, or they'd know something about my past, would it serve the relationship?   I was sure it wouldn't.

The final ring of Hell was in "no one can know this about me".  They'd lose respect for me. Maybe they wouldn't be my friend any more.  Maybe this was a professional secret and I'd lose my job or some clients.  People would form opinions about me that weren't true.  I couldn't stand to think about that.  I would daydream about having to constantly defend who I really was if people would know this "thing" about me.  No, everyone would be better if they just didn't know, including me.

Keeping secrets taught me to hide in shame about who I was and what was true about me.  Keeping secrets means I need to lie or to omit things about me so others can maintain the impression I want to give them. One that usually isn't true.

When I want to keep secrets I have downgraded my personal value in favor of another person.  I tell myself that I am not good enough the way that I am. I tell myself that the person in my life that I am hiding things from wouldn't find me worthwhile or better still, they are not trustworthy.  Is that really what I want to show my friends and family, that they can't be trusted with loving me? 

In the times where I have shared deep secrets, aside from one, I was given nothing but acceptance in return and lamenting that I hadn't allowed them to share in my burden.  Friends want to feel needed and useful. I know I do. By not sharing what was going on with me or the things I have experienced, I demonstrated that our friendship couldn't be useful in times of trouble. That hurts to hear. 

When we are in hiding from the truth, it corrodes like battery acid on our well-being.  Secrets never heal, only the truth does.  To come out in the open is to unlock a cell in solitary confinement.  Most of all, we get to be free of  the shackles of shame. 

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