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Guilty secrets

guilty secrets

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Holding  guilty secrets takes an enormous amount of energy and over time can become exhausting and debilitating. It’s not just the secret itself; it’s the internal beliefs that accompany the decision not to speak it, beliefs like  being bad for having done whatever it was that the secret is about, or that something awful will happen to you or someone else if the secret gets out.

Stress on our minds

We tend to think of our minds as being quite robust and capable of shutting things away. They are capable of doing this but it comes at a price of stress and anxiety even if you are not consciously feeling it. Our minds are very linked to the rest of us, our bodies and our emotions and consequently if our minds are stressed in some way we will feel it emotionally or physically.

Sharing a secret

The decision to share a secret is a big one and may need a few steps before you feel ready to confide in another. Initially it’s important to understand what made you keep the secret and what you believe the risks are, if any, of sharing it. It may be that you are holding a secret on behalf of another so in this case you may feel responsible and indebted to someone else’s trust. If you’re in this situation,  it’s important to be honest with yourself and decide if it’s right to put someone elses wellbeing before your own. If it’s not, you may want to return to the person involved and let them know that you don’t feel comfortable doing this any longer.

If a third person has told you the secret and you now feel you’re in a compromising position, you may want to confide in that third person and explain why you no longer wish to keep it a secret .

Think twice next time

It’s not uncommon for people to try and relieve their uncomfortable feelings about something they’ve done by telling another and asking them to keep it secret from them. Next time someone says can I trust you with a secret think twice before you agree, you may want to say that you can’t be sure until you’ve heard it because you don’t want to put yourself in a position of holding stressful information inside of you.

guilty secretsIf it is your own secret that you are holding, explore your decisions for not telling anyone. Writing down the reasons for not sharing it  can be a good start. See if you can come up with a list of what you think others will think of you if you tell them, and apply the following four questions to each belief:
(1) Is this belief true?
(2) Can you be absolutely sure that it is true?
(3) What would it feel like to let go of this belief?
(4) How can you turn this belief around into a thought that you would feel much better thinking?

It may be that you need to go through this process several times to free yourself up from the stress of holding information. Keep reminding yourself that you deserve to feel relaxed and happy and that you are not a bad person, but that these are just thoughts rather than truths.







About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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