A word from Ben: As I grew up, my mom’s insights often came in the form of written words, like notes in my lunch box, bible verses on my bathroom mirror, and cards in my college mailbox. In this series, “In Amy’s Opinion,” she shares her love and wisdom with you, because it wouldn’t be fair to keep it to myself. The Mahogany Workplace hopes you enjoy her posts and form your own opinions along the way.
By Amy Higgins
Let’s talk about secrets. We’ve all carried one. Secrets are not innately bad. For instance, a surprise birthday party. The object is to hide it from the person you want to celebrate. Nothing wrong with that, right? However, those who know the secret feel an odd anxiety, burden, and guardedness. It may be subtle, but it exists. Now you’re at the party and scream, “Surprise!” The secret has been spoken, the burden lifted, and the anxiety gone. Enjoy your cake in peace.
Other kinds of secrets run deep. They look different for everyone — addiction, obsession, shame, anger, envy, lust… the list goes on. It does a similar thing to you as the “surprise party” secret. The difference? You have not been freed from the anxiety, burden, and guardedness. The secret wasn’t said out loud, and the peace never came. I once heard that a life without peace is simply unprotected, crippled, and hindered from maturing in a healthy fashion. I tend to agree.
Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I am the proud carrier of a senior discount card. I’ve navigated the crazy trip through menopause, and I look forward to supporting my husband into retirement! But a couple secrets kept me from experiencing true peace for most of my adult life. Recently I became aware of the peace I was being robbed of. I wanted the burden lifted and the anxiety gone. So I finally found the courage to say those secrets out loud.
My journey to making this happen started with a letter to my parents. For the first time I spoke openly about how my secret had impacted my life and ultimately my relationship with them. Second, I spoke honestly about how a secret I had kept from someone I love more then life itself had a direct impact on who they are as a person and the story of their life. I won’t pretend it was easy. A lot of tears were shed.
Healing took time, but I found peace.
Let me revisit the thought that a life without peace is simply unprotected, crippled, and hindered from maturing. I can say without a doubt that choosing to release my secrets came with the real benefit of this sentiment. I’m almost ashamed to say it took me all this time to get to a place where I am hitting my stride.
I want to encourage you to seek a trusted loved one, a solid group of friends, a pastor, or a professional to help you navigate your own road to peace. It could feel messy and painful, and healing involves a lot of patience. But secrets suck in my opinion, and it’s worth the effort to address them. Where you lack peace, the enemy of our mind will work.
How have you navigated a painful secret?
Photo by Rachel Peterson of RP Imagery