General Well-Being

Shhhhhh…..🤫The psychology of secret.

We all have secrets. Sometimes without realising it, we tend to be hiding the truth.

The questions we need to concern ourselves with are: When should I keep a secret? How do I tell a secret without hurting anyone? How do I know the time is right to tell the truth?

People keep secrets for many reasons, and most of them are unique to certain condition and individuals involved.

However, many times the motivations can be tracked to one of three specific reasons- Personal guilt, concern for others, or fear of retaliation.

Personal guilt comes when we did something that is viewed as “bad”, and the common reaction to that behaviour is to feel guilty about our action. The guilt may make us feel that people will never forgive us if we are honest about our actions. Thus, we tend to suppress the event in our subconscious mind and possibly even tried to forget it completely.

There are times when we feel that we need to protect someone’s feelings by keeping something a secret. We may think the truth will cause harm to that person. It seems to be a pure intention to keep the secret. However, the truth comes out later and causes more pain to the individual we are trying to protect. It is difficult and challenging to pretend that there is nothing happened in our life when we are actually keeping a secret from somebody. This could also cause stress.  .

Almost similar to the previous motivation, some people keep secrets as a way to reduce the level of harm they cause. For example, we may hide some details about what we have done wrongly in order not to hurt more. When we are not being honest about the whole situation that can also create another layer of secret where we project that we are being honest for telling something but in reality, we are still holding some other information. This may lead to greater conflict when the truth is revealed.

So when should we be truthful then? When should we open up? The time is appropriate when…

1) Telling the truth empowers people around us to change and grow

As mentioned earlier, we keep secret because we don’t want to upset others. Deep down we don’t want to be rejected and we are frightened of letting go of any control we have over people. We refuse to give people the freedom to reject us or to get angry at us and want to control them. This is however shows that we prevent them from growing. We do not allowed them to change and develop, so are we keeping the secret for good cause then?

2) Telling the truth brings us peace of mind

We all have values in life, the values that shape our attitude and personality. Our life is guided by our values and these values should be based on the truth. Thus, being true with who we are, allows us to maintain a high level of integrity and brings our peace of mind. We can look at ourselves in the mirror with a sense of pride, sleep well at night and fully express our true self to others. By being true to ourselves, it becomes easier for us to be true to others. As a result, we become a better friend, partner, parent or colleague.

3) Telling the truth is a sign of love

When we love someone deeply, we do not feel like lying to them or wanting to control them. Real love goes beyond those sentiments. Attempting to control people around us is a selfish behavior derived from a feeling of fear and insecurity. When we really care about our friends or family, we must be ready to tell them what they don’t want to hear.

Acquaintances tell you what you want to hear, but real friends will tell you what you don’t want to hear. Lack of truth will lead to the decay of any relationship. It will be a waste of time for both partners.

Is there any area in your life where telling the truth could help people who you care about improve their life?

4) Telling the truth earns respect

When we really care for others, we will be able to tell the truth and we will earn the respect from them. A lack of truth shows a lack of consideration for people we are interacting with. We are not willing to help them grow and prefer to stay in our comfort zone by hiding the truth. We believe ourselves to be someone nice while in fact we simply haven’t the courage to hurt other people’s feeling even when they ask for our sincere feedback.

5) Telling the truth creates deeper connections

When we are willing to fully express our feelings to others, no matter how scary it is, it means that we are prepared to create a deeper relationship with that person. It clearly shows a high level of trust and encourages our family, friends, partner or other people to open their heart too. By accepting to appear vulnerable you appear more trustworthy.

I have a friend who told me once that she was surprised to see how quickly people were opening up to her. The reason they were sharing intimate stories with her is simply because she was herself sharing a lot about her own life.

Ho much of yourself are you sharing with others? Are you hiding your weaknesses or do you allow yourself to appear vulnerable?

The question is now, how truthful are you?

Categories: General Well-Being

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