It’s no secret. We all have parts of our past or present we choose not to share with others, or if we share, only with a trusted few. Acts or knowledge of acts spanning the gamut of the imagination stay locked in the darkest corners of ourselves. With time, even the secret keeper even forgets where the key is hidden.
Omission and Commission: Secrets and Lies
A secret is something about yourself, or someone else, you intentionally omit from divulging to another person. A lie is an intentional deception committed by one individual to another in an attempt avoid unearthing the truth.
Is Keeping a Secret Inherently Wrong or Bad?
On the scales of truth and justice, not all secrets are created equally.
A secret can be a positive or negative force in our lives depending on the nature of the secret and how we choose to act. In a relationship, a secret can either bond people together (surprise parties, new fitness routines, a new hobby, etc.) or be the thread, when pulled, that unravels one.
Is it OK to Keep a Secret?
Personal, family, work or community, secrets are hiding in every nook of life. We all have a right to privacy and limiting how much personal information we make available to the public. Very few want to air their dirty laundry and open themselves up to judgment, or depending on the nature of the secret, more serious consequences. Our lives shouldn’t be fodder for local tabloid gossip.
For example, is it ok avoid disclosing you’re struggling with an addiction, mental/emotional disorder or other physical condition? Absolutely. Apart from all illegal acts, which I’ll assume shouldn’t be kept secret, each person has the right to choose disclosure or have the information kept private.
What if your secret impacts not only yourself but also adversely affects the lives of others – even your loved ones?
What if a spouse has an affair? Should they disclose it?
What if the cheating spouse disclosed the infidelity to you and their wife/husband was terminally ill with only days to live? Would you tell them or insist they be told?
What if you were the terminally ill party being kept in the dark? Would you want to know?
These are complicated situations and dealing with the above requires moral clarity, good counsel and even better timing.
Secrets Beware: The Oversharer and Social Media
We’ve all seen social media posts disclosing way too much personal information. If we could throw yellow TMI flag and assess a penalty, we would (and you know who you are).
The Oversharer aside, disclosing personal aspects of our lives in a social media driven society brings up new challenges. It’s no secret that current and potential employers leverage web and social media searches to monitor both their brand and IP but also to screen potential candidates for hire.
Additionally, social media provides mainline access to a potentially unlimited audience. Before you turn the key and open the box, this is worth consideration. Like any secret, whether positive or negative, once your personal Pandora’s box is open, it’s REALLY open.
The Secret to a Secret is No Secret
If you spill the beans to another, you lose control. The choice to divulge to others, the why, when and to whom, spirals out of your hands. Your confidant may agree to keep it confidential, but let’s face it, once you tell them, it’s a jump ball – anybody’s game. No secret there.
When you choose to divulge a secret and ask it remain in strict confidence, you put a measure of responsibility on the keeper. That’s ok if they willingly accept it; however, depending on its nature and the nature of the other person, the secret can be an equally tough yoke for two to carry as one – especially if it’s an attempt to cover up some wrong. That’s an awkward place to be or be put into (and we’ve all visited that stop at least once in our lives).
If keeping the secret puts you at odds with your own moral compass, it can strain relationships and spark resentments. Keepers can slide easily into lying and deception. Keeping Pandora’s box shut and locked can make one or both parties sick.
Confession is Good for the Soul
I believe that’s true and found it so in my life. However, I was curious and the Internet certainly delivered. In addition to traditional paths of spilling the beans, a quick search revealed a couple of sample sites offering a means of doing so anonymously.
I’ll leave it to you to determine their value as well as if the electronic footprint is truly anonymous.
In my book, the secret to a secret is no secret.
That’s all for tonight. Tomorrow’s another light. From one sojourner to another, all the best.