Secrets – we all have them.
Whether it’s a little white lie or a life-changing admission you’ve buried deep into the abyss of your psyche, there’s little doubt that keeping secrets can have a profound effect on us.
In fact, Columbia University researchers even found that in a study of 13,000 secrets, people often become distracted by said secrets, leading to a preoccupation with them, as well as decreased feelings of authenticity, and a reduced sense of well-being about satisfaction with one’s life.
While we may feel we can hide secrets way into the back of our minds, according to relationship coach Samantha Jayne, the toll of harbouring an untold secret can very well be detrimental to our mental health.
According to Samantha, secrets, whether they be secrets in a relationship, friendship or otherwise, can lead to some unwelcome side effects you may not be aware of.
What happens when we keep secrets?
“The stress of being caught out can be overwhelming and lead to isolation. Secrets can undermine relationships and cause serious damage if they are found out,” Samantha explains.
“Secrets activate one of the universal fears of ‘being found out’, it’s probably where imposter syndrome kicks in.”
She added that it can lead to a “heaviness” that compounds into a feeling of “not being able to shine through as your true authentic self.”
“The feeling of being judged, or feeling ‘not good enough’ when the reality is you should in most cases be able to be real and the social cost of secrets inhibits intimacy as withholding information can prevent a true connection,” she said.
Sssh! The secret to avoid this
While there are many reasons for keeping secrets, Samantha said that people often harbour secrets due to not wanting to hurt someone they care about.
But despite the worries of hurting someone’s feelings if truths were to come out, Samantha insists that—as the old adage says—honesty is the best policy.
“Sometimes secrets can protect another person’s feelings if it is something small. In most cases it’s better, to be honest for everyone’s sake it all comes down to the delivery of the message.”
As they say, “the truth will set you free”.
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