So, let’s get this out of the way now. I know you have a secret to share. Yes…you do. We all have secrets, well at least 95 percent of us do according to researchers at the University of Iowa. And the “I’m gonna keep this or that a secret” is happening from the White House to my house and possibly your house too.
In pop culture, now often referred to as “politics,” we are hearing all about Michael Cohen’s secretly recorded tapes. Oh, and apparently Omarosa has some secretly recorded tapes too. Should we care about their secrets? Probably and, at the same time, probably not. Instead, let’s get into how keeping secrets can be the kryptonite to us Underdogs getting our superpower swagger back and keeping it.
Secrets are not good to have. Yet 95% of us have secrets and they can weigh us down, hold us back, keep us distant from our friends and family, and have a negative impact on our health. I know each of those symptoms too well.
A few years ago I was attending a leadership development workshop. The workshop was nearing the end and everybody was sharing EVERYTHING. Well except me, I was still holding onto a secret. I had been holding on to this secret for almost 16 years. I had kept it from everyone. I believed this secret defined me and not in a good way. The last day of this workshop came and I had made up my mind to share my secret. I got up in front of the room terrified. I finally got it together enough to say there is a secret that I have been holding onto and that secret is I did not finish college. I paused and waited for their judgment, anger and criticism. But then instead someone in the room says THAT’S IT!?! We were thinking you killed someone or something like that. In that moment I was almost shocked that nobody really cared. Then I felt a sense of relief.
It turns out my secret was only a big deal to me. I had people tell me that they are glad I let that out and they assured me I’m not the only one with a past and then asked me what I am going to do from here. Update, after all that unfolded, I chose to share my secret more broadly, leave my job, became a full time entrepreneur, and went back to school to become a Certified Professional Coach.
“Even on my weakest days I get a little bit stronger.” -Sara Evans
From this experience I learned how helpful it is to let secrets out. It was one of the inspirations of one of the Swagger Back Commandment™ “Front Street to Swagger Back Blvd.” I have found for myself and other Underdogs that our secrets are often one of the best places to look to find out what has us living on Front Street instead of moving to Swagger Back Blvd, so to speak. I shared one of mine. What secret are you going to let out today?
STOP THINKING ABOUT IT
We all have at least one secret and it’s best not to hold onto it because secrets can have a negative impact on our overall health. According researchers at Tufts University and three other major colleges there was a study conducted where people were asked to think of a small secret or a big secret. They were then shown a hill and asked to judge the steepness. The people who were asked to think of a big secret said the hill looked steeper to them.
“The hardest battle you will ever have to fight is between who you are now and who you want to be.” -Unknown
It’s been reported by Men’s Health that secrets can almost kill us too. Researchers have shown that secrets set off a chronic surge of stress hormones that can cause gastrointestinal problems, weaken your immune system, increase your blood pressure, and lead to memory loss. Having a secret makes us feel like we are acting in a non authentic way and can depress our mood and our overall sense of well being. WOW! You sure you want to keep holding on to that secret you got!? That secret likely isn’t worth all that!
“The toughest battle you’ll ever fight in your life is the battle within yourself.” -Unknown
Telling your secret could literally save your life. The stress from secrets does not come from actually hiding the secret but from us thinking of things that then reminds us of the secret. People think about a secret 3 times more often than they actually hide it. I know this was true for me. I would sit at home thinking about how bad of a person I was for not finishing college and keeping the secret from friends, family, and my employer.
HOW TO LET IT OUT
Basically your mind will play whole lotta tricks on you and your health if you keep secrets. But how do you share your secret? Here are three ways you can start to get your secret out. I personally recommend to do all three.
1. Write a forgiveness letter.
2. Tell a stranger.
3. Talk to a professional.
The first way is to write it down. Just get it out on paper and make sure to forgive yourself for keeping the secret. The second way is to tell someone. Let a stranger know if you feel you might be judged by your friends. It’s a start and you’ll feel the significance of the secret start to lessen. The third way is to talk to a professional. Let a therapist or certified coach know your secret. We all could use more support than we are currently getting.
“Holding on is believing that there’s a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.” -Daphne Rose Kingma
You can keep your secret or you can keep your health. It is challenging to do both. One of the secrets, pun intended, to getting our swagger back is letting go of our secrets. Letting go of your secrets can take us from Front Street to Swagger Back Blvd! It can also greatly improve our health, relationships, and life overall! “Underdogs, can’t nobody do it like you do it. Nobody.” -G.N.