Breaking News! Secrets are like Assholes – We all have them!
It’s true. We all have secrets. According to scientists, secrets are like onions, they have many dirty layers. The range is from silly to significant, usually occupying a shameful component and a need to compartmentalize our feelings. But it’s not only indiscretions we keep hidden, we also keep our hopes and dreams a secret as well.
“I was kind of forced into being a highly respected scientist,” explained a researcher who wanted total anonymity. “What I really want to do is perform magic. It’s my true calling. But the one time I made flowers pop out of a beaker everyone laughed at me. Not the reaction is was going for.”
Scientists say we start lying around the age of 4. As we grow, we then learn how to lie to ourselves, navigating the difference between self and ego. Think of your teenage years. It was probably fraught with lies, the oldest being, the dog ate your homework. But sometimes the lie is to avoid hurting others.
“As far as my wife knows, her butt’s never looked big in jeans, even though it’s totally fat. This secret is okay because it serves a dual purpose. She doesn’t come unglued and I don’t have to buy her new clothes.”
However, for the secret keeper, there is a price to pay. They must always stay vigilant, protecting and tending to the secret, keeping it tucked away from others. And that costs mental space and an inability to truly focus at work and at home. The more secrets we keep the more burdensome our lives become.
“For most of the participants in the study who were involved in extra-marital affairs, after the thrill and the sex fueled romps, and the feeling of finally being alive begins to wane, that’s when the burden kicks in, and in my opinion, a good time to end the affair so no one gets hurt.”
To release the secret can be very freeing to the secret keeper, not so much to the secret receiver, says every therapist in the world. It’s something to consider because most people report a sense of relief after the secret has been revealed, lifting the anxiety and sadness.
“The decision to disclose your secret should be made with a professional – that way the judging can begin in a format that legally protects you.”
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