The Cost of Secrets


We all have secrets that we believe, if exposed, would cause harm, others would judge us harshly perhaps, or we would lose standing in our group. So we keep these secrets, even for many years, but at what cost?


The first time I had a really, really good job, I lived in dread that an unbalanced, unpredictable relative would find out where I worked and come into the office. I imagined that I would be mortified, humiliated and embarrassed. I imagined it so many times that now, almost 30 years later, it seems as though it actually happened. I think I even dreamed it. But it never came to pass.


We all have other secrets, things in our past that we are ashamed of. Every one of us. And it does take energy to hold these inside. As we age, they pile on; and, when something happens that reminds us of one of our indiscretions, one of our secrets, that pain is touched and brought up into our awareness again.


If we continue to hold these in, they can make us sick. That tightness in your belly, that sadness in your heart, that pressure in your chest, habitually pushed back down causes anxiety, stress, and the ensuing harmful hormones that course through your body.

But the fix is so very easy— tell someone. Someone you can trust even if it needs to be a professional. The immediate relief will be a powerful healing. Just in the telling, just in the releasing, just in the act of letting it go.


It finally occurred to me that this relative, if indeed she walked into our office, wasn’t me and telling this truth of her existence would be healing for myself. So I opened up and freely shared the facts of this relative when the conversation fit. So many others had a common situation,  a relative with mental illness, alcoholism, or other affliction.  I was free. Let her come in now, I was prepared, no big deal!


Of course, other secrets are about us and not flattering. But we all have them! No one is perfect and we bury these secrets that make us sick! It is hard to forgive ourselves while these past indiscretions lie inside, taking up residence while waiting to be dealt with and brought into the light. We all make mistakes, we’ve all done things we may see as awful, but we are always doing the best we can at the time. Now you’ve learned more, now you can let the guilt go and do better.


You are perfect just the way you are. Your secrets taught you what you needed to know. You’ve grown.  You’ve gained insight and maturity. You can even laugh about most of those old bits of information now.


When you are reminded, and they come into your awareness, don’t press them back down. Look at them and let them flow on out of you. Be done with them. Share them and feel the clearing. You are a complex, multifaceted being that cannot be defined by a few silly errant actions, or even a bunch of them! Forgive yourself.