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Best Kept Secrets: How Your Secrets are Impacting You

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Have you heard the saying, "Secrets don't make friends?"

Have you ever been tempted to keep secrets? How has that impacted your life?

Let me start off by telling you the type of secrets that I am not talking about. I am not talking about intellectual property or any other type of secrets that would be unethical to share. I am not talking about your family's secrets or the secret your best friend told you in confidence.

I am talking about the secret that you hold onto or keep to yourself because you feel it gives you one leg up on another person. I am talking about the secrets you have found through simple Google searches that would be easy enough for someone else to find, given the time and a little bit of effort. I am talking about the secrets you keep that make you feel superior in a relationship because you have less invested. I am talking about the secrets you keep because you refuse to be vulnerable in your relationships. Lastly, I am talking about the secrets that show there is a crack in your integrity and cause you to spend a lot of time managing your reputation and keeping your faults hidden.

Have you ever kept any of these kinds of secrets? If you have, I want you to pause and actually analyze how these secrets are impacting your emotional health. How are they impacting your relationships? Let's take a moment to see how all of these kinds of secrets impact us all.

Secrets Rooted in Being Easily Threatened

The first kind of secret I mentioned is the kind you keep when you want to have a leg up on another person. This kind of secret can be a life hack, career hack, or any other kind of hack. They feed a fragile sense of indispensability. An example would be if you found a way to do something better at work and you started to stand out among your peers and to upper management. They would compliment you and tell you that you're doing a great job. You smile on the inside because you know you have found a trick. Whether you have become more productive, effective, or a better performer, you hide the great thing you have found. You have determined that this secret is your fast track to a promotion. You view everyone on your team like competitors. You keep your trade secrets like they are.

But here is the thing you also know. Your trick is not complicated. It is not hard to find. One Google search later, one book read, or one YouTube video watched and your team would also have the secret. Your fragile sense of indispensability is crushed. Your promotion feels as good as gone.

Here is the thing, this kind of secret is kept because you feel easily threatened. You feel on the inside as though you are actually not that talented. You doubt yourself. You regularly view others as competition and find yourself lacking. You feel if you were measured against anyone, that other people would see your incompetence.

What you don't know friend, is when you share these kind of secrets with the people to whom it matters the most, is actually when you become indispensable. You become a team player. You earn the like, know, and trust factors among your team. People will actually credit you with your good ideas. You will be considered a good resource. Maybe everything you wanted by keeping the secret is given to you by sharing it. Just consider it.

Secrets Rooted in Power

The motive for this kind of secret is power and control. You achieve this by being less invested. I have often seen this kind of secret being used in a dating relationship, but it can be used among friends as well.

This kind of person/secret-keeper is the type who does not show their true intentions. They do not share any vulnerabilities. They keep you confused about how important you are to them. If you ever believe that they are holding something back, they will make sure you know it is all in your head.

No clarity + no exposure + no investment = no accountability.

The truth about this kind of person is they do actually need you. They do want you around, even if they keep you confused about it. They just want you to keep meeting their needs while not putting in any of the work to change or be held accountable in any way.

If you are the one keeping this kind of secret, you need to know, the needs you have are best met in a healthy relationship. A relationship where you share honestly and openly. A relationship where you are real, safe, and vulnerable. It might not be easy, because you will have to work at it, but it will be a better relationship.

Secrets Rooted in Insecurity

This kind of secret trusts no one and is afraid of everyone. This kind of person believes they cannot handle the kind of emotional pain that can be inflicted by others. They believe rejection will crush them, disapproval will depress them, and betrayal will ruin them. They keep all their vulnerabilities to themselves.

The thing you believe friend, is the very thing that is hurting you, "I can't handle _____ (fill in the blank.)" You can handle hard emotions. You may not like them but you can handle them. The true safety, comfort, and self-confidence you want is found walking through vulnerability. Walk right through it to the other side and find out you can handle hard things. Honestly, you are only afraid of an emotion that you will feel. What you are truly afraid of is feeling rejected, feeling disapproved of, and feeling betrayed. Keeping your secrets to yourself often creates the negative emotions you're afraid of to begin with. Hard emotions are hard emotions. With secrecy, you get fear, loneliness, and insecurity. With vulnerability, you may get conflict, disapproval, or rejection. Here is the kicker though, if you keep secrets, the first set of negative emotions are guaranteed, but if you are vulnerable, the second set of negative emotions are not. You may actually find you primarily get peace, intimacy, connection, and love.

You will never know unless you try. I know you are afraid, but I promise you, vulnerability is the better way. If you need help along the way, get it, but you can do this. You do not have to be open with everyone at all times, but be open with someone most of the time.

Secrets Rooted in Fear

This kind of secret is when, "You done messed up A-A-Ron."

It is rooted in a crack in your integrity, most likely an ethical issue. These may be the hardest secrets of all to share. Usually because it has been going on for some time. It has the most damage to inflict, on you and others.

Is it still worth it to share these kind of secrets? Yes for a couple of reasons.

First, it is bound to be found out sometime. These kinds of issues grow in the dark. Before you know it, you'll no longer be able to maintain it. You certainly won't be able to hide it. By the time it comes out, the issue will be bigger and the impact deeper. The quicker you tell secrets like these, the faster you remove the gasoline from a fire that will consume your life. The quicker the confession, the smaller the fire. The less people hurt.

The second reason is, no matter the consequence, you get your inner peace back. When you keep secrets, you invite in anxiety. The anxiety that comes with micromanaging your reputation but also the anxiety that comes with living as a divided person. The person that people think you are and the person that you actually are is not the same. It is a sad way to live and I don't know if any consequence is worse than that. If you take the time to own where you are responsible for hurt, apologize, and really change, then your life might actually begin to rebuild itself. You might get a do-over. I think that is worth finding out, friend.

If you haven’t lived as an open book up to this point, I know asking you to become one now can be difficult. However, there is a difference between having a few secrets and living in secrecy. You cannot trust everyone, and I get that. There are people who are harmful and toxic, and I am not asking you to share with them, but living in secrecy is sure to steal your joy and isolate you. I hope you have the faith to believe that there is good on the other side of openness and connection on the other side of vulnerability. Be generous with information and who you are. If you are, often times life is generous right back to you.

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