The Problem With Secrets
Every person has a secret or secrets that they do not want to share with other people. These dark secrets can range from having a fear, or simple dislike or they may border on obsession. They can be about trivial events or they may have a major impact on a person’s life. The problem with any secret, particularly a dark secret, is that is uses up a lot of energy trying to keep it hidden. The energy used hiding it is wasted-energy which could have been put to better use. The Dark Secrets We All Have
The more preoccupied you are about hiding your secret the more fearful you become of it being found out. If you are keeping something secret it means you do not want to show it and generally that infers you are ashamed of revealing what it is. As a result you use an awful lot of energy carrying the weight of this secret until eventually you are so weighed down that you become exhausted by the burden you are carrying.
Dr Michael Slepian is a research scholar at Columbia business school and he examines how to make sense of other people by focusing on their nonverbal behaviour.
He writes that:
“The more you feel preoccupied by a secret and are thinking about it, the more you are using your personal resources — cognitive and motivational — the less energy you feel you have available to pursue other tasks.
This results in life becoming more challenging as you do not have the energy reserves to cope with the day-to-day events that occur. The burden of keeping your dark secrets hidden can result in a withdrawal from society and a lose of motivation.
Dr Slepian further says that:
“Being preoccupied by a secret at work can be demotivating, and we know if you are less motivated, you perform less well.”
A series of studies conducted by Dr Slepian and colleagues showed that people really do feel that dark secrets are like a weight bearing down on them (Slepian et al., 2015).
One of the best ways to releasing or letting go of the dark secrets burden is to expose it by sharing with others. You can do this anonymously through the internet or a phone-in hotline or to a trusted adviser or professional. The main point is not to try and keep the dark secrets – secret. Basically to stop wasting your energy on keeping the secret but to instead release yourself from carrying the burden by sharing with others.
Dr Slepian said:
“When you talk about your secret, you start thinking about it constructively — processing it, making sense of it, learning how to cope with it.”
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