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Holding onto secrets is like drinking from a poison chalice and not being able to excrete the toxins.
It’s allowing the venom to insidiously seep through our every cell.
We all know secrets and no doubt we’ve all kept secrets, but some secrets are far more dangerous than others. Some secrets if inadvertently discovered will be a catastrophic eruption, and like the lava oozing from a volcano, it can so easily burn everyone in its wake. It can permanently scar those who are standing closest to you—those who trusted you to not put them in harm’s way.
In a world that has come so far and a society that has forged ahead, we still have not grasped the importance of authenticity. Of truth and the need for genuine sincerity.
I have kept secrets. Some small and insignificant in the scheme of things. But some far more important, and it is those that will haunt you. It is those that you will try to sweep under the rug, try and forget, bury.
But here’s the thing, you cannot run from the truth because anything hidden cannot remain hidden forever. Carrying such a burden will attack you in one of three ways (or perhaps all three).
It will punish you physically, showing up as illness or pain. It will burn you emotionally, overloading your ability to manage stress as anxiety starts bubbling throughout your body. It will drown your spirit as you can no longer show up as the truest version of yourself.
Why do we keep secrets? We convince ourselves it’s to protect others because maybe those secrets will hurt them. Maybe it will ruin a relationship, a dynamic, trust, faith, a lifestyle. Maybe it will change our lives.
Don’t kid yourself, the only reason we keep secrets is to protect ourselves.
Of course most of us do not want to hurt anyone, especially someone we care about. But the crux and brutal truth is we don’t want to hurt ourselves. We know that the potential revealing of a secret, especially one kept from a partner or loved one, where the truth affects them, is going to hurt us in some way. We know that certain secrets will forever change our relationship dynamic and perhaps our lives. We fear judgement. We know that digging up what’s been buried takes a courage some just do not have.
I’ve been down this road and it’s dark and a treacherous road. There’s uncertainty and fear around every bend because at any moment that volcano can erupt. At any moment the truth can be uncovered. At any moment your life can change.
I stumbled several times on this road. It was exhausting and it was unhealthy. It was like I couldn’t see clearly and I had lost my way. I was overwhelmed and the toxins of that secret were shooting off like barbs throughout my body, spiking me from the inside out. I recognised I needed to heal. I realised I needed to dig deep and face my demons. I knew I had work to do but still, I held this secret. Still, I held the belief I could leave the secret buried, hidden.
The cold, hard, f*cking truth is you can never fully heal if you are hiding a part of yourself because inauthenticity will hurt you. An omission is still a lie, and covering the truth is creating a fake version of yourself. We cannot heal when we cannot even be honest with who we are.
The removal of my mask was my profound moment. It was the moment I spoke my truth. The moment I waded through all the mud and mess. It was the moment I terrifyingly revealed what was buried to those who mattered. My heart was pounding. My mouth was dry. My stomach was turning over and over and I could feel the bile rising. My voice was shaky and I could feel tears spring to the corners of my eyes.
I stood there maskless and metaphorically naked with only my truth. And in those few minutes, I unburdened myself knowing that it did not have to define who I am. I let the light meet my dark and rediscovered my self-respect. I released my guilt and let go of my shame.
Most importantly, I spoke with honesty and compassion. I genuinely and sincerely apologised for any hurt and pain I caused. I braced myself for loss but knew for me to live my life with dignity, respect, authenticity, and grace, I had to speak the whole truth. I had to cleanse myself, seek forgiveness, and forgive myself.
For me, the burden of a secret—a lie—was far too heavy a wound to carry. There are always consequences, but keeping part of myself hidden is no way to live. Hiding the truth from those you care about is disrespectful and unfair. We are all entitled to the truth.
Self-protection is the easy way out, but don’t fool yourself drinking daily from that poison chalice of secrets; it will slowly destroy the very thing you are trying to protect. It will eat away at your soul and leave you on a deathbed of regrets. It will cause you anguish and keep a mask of deceit forever stuck on your face. It will ripple through every part of your being.
The truth can be bloody hard and it can be horribly painful. But it’s the truth, and there’s respect in the truth.
There’s a falling on your sword, but when you do, that venom you’ve been carrying slowly dissipates. It’s the start of true healing and the ability to start the journey of forgiveness. It’s the listening to your soul, the following of your heart, and the doing what is right because without the truth, all you have are secrets and lies.
“Three things cannot be long hidden. The sun. The moon. The truth.” ~ Unknown