This week: Can You Keep a Secret? Edited by: Scaredy Kitti
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|Can you keep other people's secrets? What stops you from sharing your own? |
Some secrets become a heavy burden to carry. This week's Spiritual Newsletter, then, is about those secrets, and how to face the truth of who we are.
|Can you keep a secret? I’m reasonably okay at it. Big, heavy stuff – sure. Some personal news that’s not mine to share? Yep. What someone bought someone else for their birthday/Christmas/other special occasion? I can do it. Something I bought someone else for their birthday/Christmas/other special occasion? That’s where I struggle. A mixture of excitement about giving the gift and that eternal uncertainty if they’ll really love it as much as I think they will makes the wait seem endless, and sometimes I fail and end up handing it over early. I know. I’m supposed to be a grown-up, capable of self-control. All the more so, because it means I have nothing to give on the day! Unless I buy an extra gift. Which has been known to happen. I guess, then, I am hopeless at the low-level secrets. That’s not to say that there aren’t times when I struggle with the big ones.|
There are secrets I know that I really wish the people they belong to would open up about to others. I want them to receive the help and support they ought to be receiving. I am honoured that they trusted me enough to share what happened, and I would never do anything to betray that trust, but I am not in a position to do anything but listen. Perhaps that is why I was chosen – there are no consequences to telling me.
There are also truths that have been revealed that I wish I had known about much earlier. My family has many secrets. There are many things unsaid, past events that must not be dug up, hurts that will forever remain unspoken. I sometimes wonder how much I truly know about my family and its history. Whenever I’ve tried to learn more I’ve been met with lies, half-truths and misdirection. Why? I have no idea, and at this point I am unlikely to ever find out.
I can’t claim to be much better. I have secrets, too. I carry a whole load of hurt inside of me, but as a non-confrontational person feeling most of that pain, if not all of it, will remain unspoken. Sometimes, before I go to sleep, I try to imagine what it would be like to let it all out. Face-to-face, or I write long, mental letters detailing every single incident that stops me from achieving inner peace. Most of the time, I don’t need to visualise the other person’s reaction. It’s enough to try, once more, to process what happened (at least for a little while). The sad thing is that I know that I’ll never, ever receive an apology and when I do try to nudge my brain in that direction I can’t even envision what it would feel like. How many of us hold on to pain and trauma in this manner? How many of us carry around our secrets like a bag of bricks that we cannot let go of?
It’s not just other people’s actions and their impact that I carry with me. I have made mistakes. I have done things and said things that I am not proud of. Some I should let go of already – there is that time, for example, when, as a child, I accidentally led some classmates to believe that I owned my own horse, when I had actually been talking about a horse at my riding school. My classmates were so enthused about my horse that I didn’t know how to explain the mistake, and from then on I was the girl with the horse, all the way up to when they actually wanted to come with me and meet the horse… lies lead to lies, lead to lies. But I was a kid. Kids can be silly, and awkward, and get into unnecessarily messy situations. It’s not great when our brains remind us of these situations at 3 a.m., but I can brush them off with relative ease. There are other actions and mistakes, however, that are not as easy to forgive myself for. I have never intentionally harmed anyone, nor committed any crimes, but that does not mean that I am an innocent soul. It does not mean that I am unburdened by my own secrets.
I can see the logic behind Catholic confessions – the ability to let go of that burden, or at least share it somewhat, must be nice. I don’t think that I would feel comfortable with a religious leader having the knowledge of everything I feel bad about, everything that makes me ashamed, though. Even if they don’t see you, if you’re part of a faith community they’ll know your voice, and details about your life, and that makes it pretty easy for them to recognise you. It’s a lot of power to hand someone.
Some people find it easier to talk to a therapist. They don’t tend to know your family, nor your local community, and it’s their job to listen. I can see the benefit of that, too, but it’s not for me.
There are parts of my life, my past, my fears and regrets, then, that I only share with God. I know that you all know that I am not the most religious person out there, but I do pray. It can feel good to express my feelings. It may not solve anything, but sometimes sharing my thoughts can lead me to a fresh perspective on a situation, and even if not, the act of prayer can offer a small measure of comfort.
It would be good if we didn’t carry all these secrets with us, though, wouldn’t it? If we knew the truth of anyone and anything, and could reveal our own truths, and always know that we’d still be loved, and accepted, because nobody’s perfect. It would be nice, but we don’t live in that kind of world. So I guess we’ll always have secrets that we hold close to our hearts.
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Wishing you a week filled with inspiration,
The Spiritual Newsletter Team
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