In my last blog post in this series, I made specific reference to the importance of disclosing to your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend things that may impact your relationship. This included things they may know, things they know nothing about, or things that they only know a portion about. In almost all situations, I put forward the idea that they need to know the more about what you’ve been hiding. It’s usually good for your relationships.
Examples of Personal Secrets
Before speaking more about why confession is good for your mental and spiritual health, let’s revisit what you may be hiding that needs to be confessed. Sometimes personal secrets are things that you keep hidden that should be brought to light.
Some examples include:
- Secret activities: This includes habits and additions that we are ashamed of, embarrassed about, nagged over, and find selfish pleasure in.
- Selfish friendships: Sometimes, we keep friendships to boost our own self-esteem, not because we value the other person for who they are. Our self-lies and self-deception does not allow us to admit how low our self-value is so that we need to use people and things to feel better about ourselves. And, even more so, we need these people and activities to prove our worth and worthiness to ourselves and others.
- Secret thoughts and feelings: Harboring private thoughts and feelings can be isolating and harmful. Maybe it is stress at work or with a colleague that you try to minimize as no big deal, or maybe it is trying not to worry about mounting debts, work issues, or matters in your home. We may not recognize the toll our feelings have upon us. It may be the grieving over the death of a loved one, or regret over a past decision that did not go well. Some of us hide hurt, fear and even resentment towards others for failing us in some way. Or we may lack confidence and grace towards ourselves, and try to avoid secret doubts about our abilities to make good decisions, about our lovability or about our sense of a dark future.
- Secret memories: I have heard from many who have tried to run and hide from their pasts. They try to ignore, forget, stay busy, and abuse substances such as food, alcohol or drugs to flee past memories. Things like being abused, the school bully, of having regrets over a relationship or life path chosen earlier, or an awkward social or work-place moment where the wrong words came out in the presence of others. The rationale is, “I’ll be ok if I can hide this secret from others and myself.” The problem is that our brain records our lives and replays these memories, especially the bad ones, forever.
The Impact of Secrets – on You
All of these take their toll on you. For example:
- Keeping something that’s bothering you bottled up causes stress.
- Fear of being discovered leads to isolation so that you can hide from others.
- Being defensive when question about your secrets.
- Rationalization to self-justify, minimize and soothe the pain of the secret.
- Losing self-esteem.
- Diversions that take over, such as an addiction.
Help Comes by Confessing and Admitting Your Secrets … First to Yourself!
Private hurts, habits and fears can drain your soul, like a car lights left on all night in your garage drains your car’s battery. If, after reading this, you agree with what I’ve written, then it may be time to admit your private thoughts, feelings, and activities aren’t helping you, but may be hurting you instead.
If you can admit these secrets to yourself, then I can offer hope that the relief that follows by confessing them to someone else will change your conscious and unconscious life.
And if you need help to reveal and replay these secrets to yourself, then consider coming in to share the humble truth with me. You might find the peace that your heart desires.
Christian counselor Dr. Douglas Frey believes in Biblical principles and bringing forth God’s grace in meetings and sessions. Call or email Douglas Frey Ph.D. (952-920-2789). He is a licensed Christian counselor serving individuals and families in Eden Prairie and nearby Chanhassen, Chaska, Shakopee, Minneapolis, Edina, Minnetonka and other Western Suburbs.