“But what will they say?” “I don’t want them finding out.” “I’m embarrassed.” Secrets hold power over us, but only while they’re still secret. Don’t get me wrong, some secrets will get us into more trouble than others – murder, Watergate, infidelity etc. – but once a secret is out there, it’s out there. Once the storm has been ridden and the consequences felt, that’s it. There’s no more wind in the sails, no more power left. The spell has been broken.
What’s the thing that holds you back that you don’t want people knowing? Maybe you’re gay and worried about coming out, maybe you really want to be a clown but work in finance but are worried about telling those around you about your ambitions, maybe you want to tell that friend that actually you love them, maybe you’re having therapy but worry that people will think you’re crazy (full disclosure, I see a therapist, it’s great), whatever it is it will only hold you back while it is kept in the dark. The consequences might be pretty bad, yes, but holding onto that secret forever is worse.
One of my favourite films is Crocodile Dundee (feel free to judge me, I’m over it), and in it the reporter, Sue, says [in response to talking about someone she knows in New York who is getting therapy] “You’re right. I guess we could all use more mates. I suppose you don’t have any shrinks at Walkabout Creek.” Dundee responds “Nah – – back there, if you’ve got a problem, you tell Wally. And he tells everyone in town… brings it out in the open… no more problem.” Wise words in my view. Wonderfully simple but watching someone worrying about something that they’re keeping from those around them, it’s easy to see how much healthier it is for it to be out in the open.