I used to love knowing secrets as a kid. They were something magical, and knowing them had the power to make someone feel oh so special. The whispering in the playground, and the hushed giggles. It was all a fantastic game!
They were never nice if you were on the outside of them though; if you were one of the ones who didn’t know.
I remember chasing my friends around the playground in primary school, trying to find out a secret that they’d all told each other but refused to let me know. It was all they would talk about, until I came near…and then they would just giggle and whisper behind cupped hands into each others ear, or simply stop talking at all.
There are many reasons not to keep secrets, but here are the main ones:
Secrets cause suspicion
If you’re keeping a secret, who else is? Is it something about you? Something that might affect you? Something bad?Are they sharing that secret with others?
Secrets can harm others
There are many ways secrets can hurt others. Keeping a secret about harm done to others could cause that harm to happen again and again. Keeping a secret about the innocence of others could lead to them getting into trouble.
Secrets can ruin relationships
Few people are actually good at hiding a secret. A secret sort of seeps out of you…you tend to act a different way, and avoid certain topics or situations, or even certain people. Have you ever found out that a loved one has kept a secret from you? How did that make you feel? Probably not good. Possibly even hurt and betrayed.
Secrets condone bad behaviour
If you know you can keep something bad a secret, you are more likely to do it over again. You might even branch out and try something new. This is why so many criminals continue to do wrong…because they know they can keep it a secret, and they know others will keep their secret for them too. Same goes for children, and doing things they shouldn’t. If it’s a secret, who is going to find out?
Secrets eat away at you
Have you ever kept a bad secret, and felt it eat away at you a bit more every time you think of it? It could be something dark and terrible, or it could be the act of a lie has made you feel lousy. For that’s what a lie is surely, the act of keeping a secret.
Secrets make people feel left out
When a group of people share a secret, those who don’t know it are going to feel left out. Whether they know there is something they haven’t been told, or just have this feeling that the topic of conversation gets changed when they walk into the room, they are sure to feel that the group dynamic has changed. When it comes to children this is especially so, because children feel proud of keeping secrets, and are more likely to boast about it to others.
Secrets make something bigger than it actually is
Even just the act of keeping something a secret can make it worse. At the very least, it adds outright deception and betrayal to the list. You are deceiving and betraying the people around you; the people who might be affected by it.
Secrets mean no forgiveness
If you do something bad and keep it a secret, you can’t be forgiven for it. If you break a friend’s toy for example, and don’t tell them. No only will they continue to be upset and angry that someone has broken their toy, you will also continue to feel guilty about it. If you tell them however, then they are likely to forgive you for it. That makes everyone feel better.
Secrets affect your mental health
Keeping a secret can greatly affect your mental health. Keeping it all bottled up is going to cause a great deal of guilt and stress, which is just going to build and build. This can lead to anxiety and depression, and the many physical symptoms that go with it.
Secrets make things worse
All in all, secrets make things worse. They make things worse for the person keeping the secret, worse for the person who the secret is about, and worse for everyone else remotely linked to it. Mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know there can be nice secrets. Secret parties, secret babies, secrets between lovers. Secrets about good things, personal things, intimate things. Secrets that you know will cause great excitement and joy when you share them with others. Those kinds of secrets aren’t so bad, but they still have the potential to cause upset if shared to the wrong person or at the wrong time. Even those secrets are fragile and need to be held incredibly delicately.
What are your thoughts on secrets? Do you like them? I’d love to hear your opinions below.