Can You Keep A Secret?

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If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing your secrets to the trees.

Khalil Gibran

 

Pssst. Can you keep a secret? I mean really keep one, like to the grave? It may be harder than you think.

Having a secret or keeping someone else’s secret is a burden that can eat at you and actually make you sick. Sigmund Freud believed people were unable to keep  secrets. That many mental maladies manifested from a person’s inability to express deep seated secrets be them shameful, disturbing, or clandestine.

The more you try to not think about a secret you are holding on to, the more energy and brain space it seems to take up. A really big secret can actually wear your resistance down there by leaving you vulnerable to illness.

Studies show that teenagers who have the ability to confide in someone, have less instants of depression, loneliness, anger, aggression, and are generally happier. Sharing the burden helps share the anxiety of keeping a secret especially if it is a whopper.

Gossip and sharing others titillating secrets has become a national pastime and an industry in itself. Think shows like Entertainment Tonight, magazines such as the National Enquirer and for a less celebrity slant, how about WikiLeaks.

Modern culture craves the confidential, the exposed, the fall from grace stories. It’s like witnessing a car wreck and not being able to look away. We have become voyeur’s to other peoples secrets.

So what does it take to keep a secret? Well the most important trait is honour. The ability to give your word that you will not divulge the information that is being entrusted to you.

The second most important trait is trust. When another person confides in you it is because they feel there is a level of trust between you. Sharing their secret with someone else betrays that trust and you may very well irreparably damage that relationship.  So be sure you are up to the task and be honest to the other person if you are not.

I would have no problem  sharing a secret if the information given to me indicated that the person was about to harm themselves or another. That kind of secret is really a cry for help and needs to be addressed as such.

We live at a time when information is easily obtained. Having a secret has become harder and harder to keep that way. Personal information is out there on the web. We Facebook our day to day activities, we bank online, we even file our taxes online, there is not much left out there to keep secret.

So when you are given a piece of information that requires your utmost discretion, understand that someone has taken you into their confidence, it is an honour, they are trusting you. Put a mental lock on this knowledge, file it away, even forget about it if you must, until such time as it is ok to release it because secrets rarely go to the grave anymore. Who will tell, will it be you?

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