What Are Secrets? (The Answer May Surprise You)

What is a secret? We all think we know the answer, right? Secrets are things that we’re hiding to either protect ourselves or others. 

But here’s the thing about secrets… They’re making us sick spiritually, emotionally, and physically. 

While you think you may know all about secrets, there are some things that may surprise you. 

Secrets Have Three Parts

Something about secrets you likely don’t know is that they have three parts. Here’s what I mean… 

The first part is the secret action that you took. You know, it’s the thing that you did that oftentimes isn’t a secret at all because people know that you did it. Perhaps the world at large doesn’t know, but you’ve likely told a few people, right? 

The second part is the narrative. This is the story that you’ve told yourself about who you are because of what you’ve done (in other words, the action that you’ve taken). It’s this second part that is the most damaging part of a secret. Why is that? Because we live up to our narrative. 

For example, let’s say that you had an abortion when you were in your twenties. Your narrative because of that secret could be that “you don’t deserve to be a mother” or “you don’t deserve to be in a loving relationship”. 

So what happens as a result of this narrative? You’re going to keep yourself out of situations that make you feel really loved or valued. You may even take it a step further by taking precautions to avoid becoming a mother at all, even if you desperately desire to have children. 

Another example is if you filed for bankruptcy. Your secret narrative could be that you’re saying to yourself “you’re not good with money” or “you don’t deserve to have money at all” or “you don’t want anyone to know because they’ll lose respect for you”. 

Your secret narrative will actually keep you in a box. It will keep you from living adjacent to your great big life by putting a cage around yourself. Does this sound familiar? 

The third part is what I refer to as the 1-2-3 punch. This includes your childhood conditioning. On a deeper level, this is why you keep secrets in the first place. 

We all want to be loved and valued. This is a condition that we learn in our childhood. So when you think about it that way, it makes sense that our brains would convince us that we need to keep secrets, right?

Breaking Free

Just because you keep secrets, doesn’t mean you have to let them hold you captive. It is possible to break free! 

In Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets, you can learn all about how to break free from your secrets in 10 simple steps! It will help you take a look at your individual secrets from the big ones to the small ones and from the ones that seem harmless to the ones that are causing great harm. 

With these steps, you’ll learn to break free from your secrets in a loving, forgiving, and gentle way that will help you to stop living in your adjacent life (the “good enough” life) and start living in your great big life. You CAN start doing the thing that you’re really meant to do!

Rewriting Your Narrative

In my book, you’ll see that I shared one of my own secrets. My secret was that I was a bit violent in my twenties. 

To be more specific, I went after my husband with a key in church because I was upset that he had abandoned me. (Well, at least that’s what it felt like, though he hadn’t actually abandoned me. I just had to chase after him while I was on crutches after breaking my foot.)

I chased him outside (crutches and all) and pinned him against his car. In my head, I wanted to put that key through his neck. I didn’t do it, but in my head I was stabbing him. 

My secret narrative told me that “I was violent”. It said that “I wasn’t good enough” and that “I didn’t deserve to be in a marriage”. It even told me that “I shouldn’t have kids because I’d probably be abusive”. “My personality was too big”. “My feelings were out of control”. You get the idea. 

Your narrative can trick you into isolation. It can keep you separate and alone. Then throw in your childhood conditioning and that can be a recipe for disaster. 

This is what I like to refer to as “faulty wiring”. Your faulty wiring is what causes irrational thoughts and beliefs. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, but because of your childhood experiences and how they shaped your beliefs, you too may have some faulty wiring. 

We all have secrets. But you have to slow them down, taking the time to dissect each secret. Why does each secret exist? What does each secret tell you about yourself and your false narrative? What is each secret keeping you from doing? 

The good news… We are NOT our secrets and you CAN rewrite your narrative!

Final Thoughts

Someone else may not have dealt with the same secret as you, but their secrets have caused them to feel the same feelings that yours did: shame, guilt, not being good enough, not being liked or loved or wanted. 

Your secrets don’t have to define you or hold you prisoner anymore. You can break free from them. 

Think about the secrets you’ve kept. Slow down and really dissect them. Then ask yourself how you developed your coping mechanisms in the first place. 

That is the first step to unraveling your secrets, telling the truth about who you really are, and getting clear about why you became a secret keeper in the first place.

Love insights in your inbox? Get them direct from Gretchen’s desk.