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Guarded or Unguarded? The Danger of Secrets
by Cate Russell-Cole
11/02/2015 / Self Help
What is your greatest secret? What would you do if you were ever found out?
Often we hide information about ourselves or our past, for fear of the consequences of being found out. Frequently, the consequence we fear the most is the ultimate rejection that we receive from other's danger or disgust at what they've discovered.
No matter how open or sociable, every individual needs some degree of privacy where their thoughts and feelings are entirely their own. The problem is, when do our secrets become a harmful force? When do our actions or perceptions start building walls?
How do you define what is a secret, and what isn't? For instance, a habit or an incident that I feel very nervous and shy about, another person will be completely open in regards to. Some people walk around hiding what they believe is a vital secret, whilst not realising that what they are trying to hide is blatantly obvious to everyone else. For example, they may be feeling insecure and protecting themself by projecting an image of arrogance. However, a person with willingness, and an understanding of human nature, may quickly work out their cover.
In a relationship, secrecy can build mistrust and divisions. If a secret is discovered accidentally, partners may feel betrayed or lied to. They may reconsider the quality of the relationship, and find it to be less than they had previously believed. Again rejection comes into play with both parties. The "storer" of the secret feels rejected by the negative response they receive, and the "recipient" may feel rejected and inadequate as they were never trusted enough to be told, they had to find out the hard way.
What counts as a justifiable secret, and what is a fear of rebuff? The necessity of keeping a secret may be judged by the degree of hurt and humiliation to yourself and others, that will be created by it being revealed. The truth of whether that degree is correct or not, will be determined by how clear your perspective on the situation is. Before sharing, you may need to talk to a trustworthy person to receive another point of view.
A guy named Paul once said, "perfect love casts out all fear." None of us loves perfectly, but if someone genuinely loves you, and you are able to respond to that love, then the sharing of a secret can become less traumatic and safer. Telling your secret is a risk not to be taken lightly, in some cases disclosure may not be wise or even necessary. However, if your secret won't harm or hurt another person, and fear is your greatest barrier, perhaps the risk is worth taking. Shame scars emotions, but sharing may open a door to healing. If the person/s you want to share your secret with acknowledges your worth as a human being and loves and accepts you unconditionally, the what have you got to fear?
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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