This morning, I had one of my usual conversations in my head about secrets. I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I can keep a secret, I think being able to keep a secret is paramount to earning one’s trust. Even sharing a secret with someone who doesn’t have a stake in the secret, is a violation of the trust of the person’s whose secret you promised to keep. I also believe that revealing another person’s secret is nothing more than gossip and a betrayal of confidence.
Therefore, I prefer to keep my own secrets. Some might think keeping your own secrets demonstrates a lack of trust in others, well, so be it, I have trust issues. Keeping your own secrets means you don’t get hurt when someone spills the beans. It means you won’t be ridiculed about your thoughts and emotions. And sometimes, your business is just nobody else’s business.
This lesson was learned the hard way. I shared a very personal secret with 2 people, people I loved and trusted. Within 4 weeks, more than a dozen people knew. The humiliation, real or imagined of people looking, pointing and whispering behind my back was difficult to get over or forgive. Even years later, meeting the new friends of my old friend, “Oh, you’re the one who…” I never really forgot the hurt and betrayal of that one.
As a result, I’ve got locked away in my secret vault, all manner of tidbits and knowledge; things from my childhood, the goodies my little OCD brain obsesses about that I’m either too embarrassed to admit, or are just really ridiculous, feelings. Things told by friends no longer living, and of course my own secrets which have never been shared with anyone.
The only secrets I keep from DJ are what he’s getting for Christmas and his birthday. So don’t ever ask me to not tell him something (other than gifts). I’ll tell you straight up, if you don’t want him to know, don’t tell me. Since I don’t think Wendell will ever have any secrets to share with me, I don’t have to worry about him being angry with me for telling DJ. I would keep Wendell’s secret only insofar as DJ didn’t specifically ask, and I would tell Wendell that would be the case.. A kid has to be able to trust a parent, but the kid also has to realize that the bond of husband and wife trumps keeping secrets from each other. That makes for a bad marriage, at least in my opinion.
So here I sit with some personal stuff, not really baggage, some juicy, gossipy stuff about others, and some really mundane not worth repeating secrets, and my lips are sealed. There is still plenty of room in the vault if you ever need to unload one of your secrets, close friend or acquaintance, literally, “your secret is safe with me!”