360 Degree Health, Part 3: SECRETS
Haven’t read Part 2? Go here: Part 2: HABITS
To survive in the world, we must learn how to protect ourselves. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about saber tooth tigers chasing us down the street, but moments of vulnerability can feel just as dangerous. It can feel imperative to keep certain “shameful” beliefs, habits, or traits we carry hidden. That way we can avoid appearing weak or undesirable.
At large, society is not very accepting of weight gain, varying body types, a lack of control, addictive behaviors, etc. So it makes sense to hide these things, or their effects on us, from ourselves and others. Or perhaps we deny their existence altogether. If we keep certain facts secret, the world can't judge us, and we can ignore them. But does that make them go away?
Not really, no. Here’s the thing about shame…“The less you talk about it, the more you have it.” -Brené Brown
Now, it's true that shame serves a purpose. It keeps us safe from other's judgment (though our self-judgment is often worse than anything anyone else can say). But these types of secrets can also hold us back from our goals by keeping us in destructive loops. The unhealthy habits we develop offer relief and escape (though it's short lived, because no one can escape themselves for long).
The crazy thing is, once you voice the dangerous and shameful secret, you might be surprised at the relief you experience. It can be emotional, painful, and feel extremely vulnerable to put it out there. But I promise, the world doesn't end. There's a powerful shift that occurs in the face of accepted truth.
Part of this process is understanding that no one thing defines you. So say the dreaded thing out loud! Embrace the truth, let it breathe! Being honest with ourselves and others is medicinal, and allows us to acknowledge that we have always had a choice: to keep it all hidden, or to move freely without the weight of shame.
If you don't feel comfortable confessing your secret(s) to a loved one, hiring a coach or a therapist is worth the investment here. Let’s clear a path to healthy happiness using the truth!