NO ENDURING SECRETS

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, observed, “Mortals can keep no secret. If their lips are silent, they gossip with their fingers; betrayal forces its way through every pore.”

Tip toe… tip toe…

She silently walked across the snow,

Jumping down to the street below,

All in the moonlight’s faint streaking glow.

Clutching the prized treasure,

Which she knew, was beyond measure,

She retained her composure,

Till she felt at leisure – much to her satisfaction and pleasure!

Ah! Straight she fell into the cops’ snare,

How she wished that it was just a nightmare!

Only if she would have been aware,

Never to her friend the secret share!

From ear to mouth and from mouth to ear,

Words pass on with great zest and cheer,

Showing many a lustrous veneer,

Or with a coat of murky mire smeared.

Betrayal looms large when secrets are out,

After which it makes no sense to crib and pout.

It sows the seeds of mistrust and doubt,

And breaks all relations howsoever devout.

The Whoosh whoosh whispers,

That among many friends transpires,

Oft breaks hearts and leads others to quagmires,

It sure is not cosy to nestle in the briars!

Neither a gossipmonger nor a secret-leaker be…

It takes a whisker to be a bleaker,

In someone’s world of rainbows,

Temptations to spill others’ beans always do disallow.

Keep the secrets shared with you,

Close to your heart.

Do not let anyone,

Throw a fiery dart.

Twice should you think,

Before leaving behind a slimy link,

Or venturing too far into the brink,

Bear in mind – even the whistle of the air can carry the slightest clink.

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed,

Nothing concealed that will remain unknown,

The Omniscient Almighty holds the keys to them all,

Doesn’t matter whether big or small.

There’s wisdom in keeping your slate clean,

So that you can bountiful rewards glean,

When all would be unveiled,

You would surely proudly beam and gleam.

formations

WHO KNOWS MOST OF MY SECRETS??

The question in the title of this article is not a new one, we all ask ourselves at some point or the other, may not be to find who that is, or out of fear but may be to reach out to our trusted one. 

Let me reveal who knows all of my silly tantrums and darkest secrets.

We used to have a garden, very big one. As my dad used to be busy at office, evening duty of watering the plants was mine.  Well, I love plants but the primary reason was I love water. I had a collection of nozzles using which I used to sprinkle water all in the air ( I call it the rain effect :p ) Only she and I knew how much I loved transforming a stream of water to create the artificial rain. 

By rain I recollect, on our terrace at my hometown, we have lot of creepers. So, the drain pipe used for draining rain water is usually kept closed to avoid dried leaves from blocking it. If it rains heavily during summer, we don’t get a chance to remove it and the entire terrace gets filled with a feet deep of water and only one person is authorised to open the cover of the drain hole, that’s me. Lol.. I will go on to the terrace and play with water before I let them drain , again only she knows how mischievous I can get, to be with water …

I love dancing in the rain. 100% of my friends are not aware of this and atleast 99% think I cannot dance, but she does know about it very well…. 

A warm shower can make my day anytime, no matter how worse the situation is, the more time I spend in solitude under warm running water, I feel all the more better. This may sound strange, I speak during shower,  but that helps !! She knows all about it.

warmshower

Tears are my best friend. My pillow is the worst hit. When I get hurt, irrespective of where I am, amid of how many people, I can only control water works for some time, after which I have to find a washroom. I will cry my heart out, throw a splash of water on my face and come out as if nothing has ever happened. I deceive others but she is well aware of my pain.

Who keeps all my secrets? It’s her – water… In my earlier life I would have been a mermaid or some species that lives in water. The connect I feel with water is so strong. Sometimes, I just wonder how my life would have been without her… As much I love her company,  I have other friends whom I really trust and share a special bond with.

I never share many of my feelings with anyone, primarily I think that’s because I am an introvert. This not so sharing personality of mine makes it easy for me to not only hide but keep secrets. There are a ton of secrets I have with me, of mine and others too, but believe me it’s not a burden at all.

I often find myself in situations when I know secrets about a couple of my friends in my girls group, but I have to stay all silent as if I have no clue on what they are talking about. I feel satisfied when another person can believe in my honesty and feel so deeply connected to me to be revealing their secrets. They are etched in my heart and would never come out. 

I think we need to play two roles effectively to be able to keep and accept secrets.

As a keeper of secret, to understand the situation of the other person, what s/he feels, the untold emotions around it, to respect their trust in us.

When we are disclosed about a secret of loved one, it obviously hurts because we care for them from the bottom of our heart, but they loved us too. That is why they couldn’t see us in pain, and love is the only reason why the secret is kept from us. Let go of what has happened, it was intentional but not to harm us.

The idea that certain things in life – and in the universe – don’t yield up their secrets is something that requires a slightly more mature reader to accept. –Samuel R. Delany

BE THE TRUSTED ALLY

“You should become a counselor”, suggested my sister. I was the eldest among the cousins. And I was always helping out my younger siblings with some or the other problems as well as keeping their secrets. Even today this happens, my friends find it easy to share their secrets with me and also look towards me for help when they are in a jam.

Through experience I have understood a few things,

  • Everyone has secrets, mostly it is something so embarrassing or potentially harming to their current relationships, that they want to bury deep down.
  • Yet on the other hand everyone is looking for an ally to share their secrets with.  Sharing with some trusted person makes the burden on your heart feel lighter.
  • Don’t judge a person by his or her secrets.  That’s the first rule if someone is confiding in you. We all have done some things in our life that we regret or are embarrassed about.
  • And second rule is do not betray their confidence in you by leaking their secrets.

These are my foot rules. One exception to this rule is when the secret is something illegal or wrong doing. Like a few years back when my son was small and in his talks with me he revealed. That his friend had confided in him that he shoplifted a chocolate from the nearby departmental store and since he did not get caught he will try to do it again. Now this is something I could not hide. I simply had to tell his mother or else the child’s whole future was at stake.

I too have my share of secrets. Thankfully I have a husband from whom I don’t have to hide much. Recently when I had to write an article about my first crush I wrote about and incident from my college days. I had never discussed it with my hubby earlier. So technically it was a secret from him. I was so worried about his reaction once it got published. To my relief we both had a big laugh about it. There was absolutely no negative reaction. Of course there was no need for him to be upset also but still in my mind I was imaging a lot of things.

Not all secrets are deep and dark. Some are just a little bit of fun on the way side. Like a student bunking a class for a movie, or a lunch party with friends that no one in the house knows about. These small fun secrets are more fun if you share it with a friend.

So dear friends, you too can analyze your secrets. Do you really want to carry a burden on your chest for a long long time? Or is it better to share with a trusted person.  Sometimes the things are not as bad as they seem to us. Getting another person’s perspective helps.

A word of caution though! One of my favorite chick lit authors is Sophie Kinsella. In her novel ‘Can you keep a secret?’ The protagonist is travelling on an airplane. And once when it hits a major turbulence and she is sure she is gonna die, she blurts out her deepest darkest secrets to the stranger beside her.  At the end of the flight she is relieved that not only the flight is over but she has gotten a few things off her chest. But the next morning when she reaches office to her horror she realizes that her mid air confidant is her new boss. She is mortified and to make matters worse her boss decides to use her confessions to launch a new ad campaign. As you all can imagine her whole life turns topsy turvy. So dear friends choose your confidant with care.

My take on life is look for a trusted ally in your life and it will make your life easier. Or better still be the strong trusted friend in someone else’s life.

 

MY SIBLINGS – MY PARTNERS IN CRIME

Hello Everyone,

Well! I guess the title says it all.  And when you are partners in crime secrets are maintained discreetly and that goes without saying.  Don’t you all agree with that?

Walking down the memory lane I vividly remember each and every moment I shared with my brother and sister.  A fight that ensued between  them that damaged an idol breaking an arm of the same; that serious blow to my nose as a result of my brother’s alertness who thought that I would hit him and he made the first move (rather punch 😁); an instance where I was fearing the angst of my mother because of the way I fared in my exam and my brother telling me “don’t try to be holier than Pope, just tell mom that you did well today and let the results come later, who is going to tell her about your bad performance today unless you spill the beans”; that ear biting ushering with my sister about our respective crushes and what not.  Our vacations always used to be filled with such incidents – to be precise days were spent carving moments and nights were spent weaving those moments into memories.  But the crux always lied in concealing our deeds from our elders.  That was innocence then.  Hush the matter between us because once the matter is escalated wrath of that fury will take toll on You and Me equally.   Therefore we had this pact between us – Mutual Understanding of not revealing “Yeh Kisne Kiya?” (Who Did This).  So you see partners in crime never reveal the identity.

Now we are no more children but grown ups.  Married and settled and each one having a family of own to be taken care of.  There are no ugly (then, now sweet nothings) fights but life isn’t that smooth too.  Many things have changed for every one of us but what remained constant is our equation among ourselves.

Every heartache, our struggles, our passions, our flaws as human being, our feelings, our likes and dislikes, approvals and disapproval and everything under the sun that we can’t talk about openly we share with each other and of course without stating “don’t tell this to anyone”.  We are still emotionally on same page.

I know it for sure that I can be what I am with them without the fear being judged, being revealed or exposed for that matter 😉.  Just the way a key once thrown in the sea is lost, a secret between three of us remains between us like forever.

I believe this is a special bond that we cherish till we breathe our last.

Special Mention:  I have a soul sister too (like they say brother from another mother😊) whom I know for 20 years now.  She too knows many a things about me.

The people mentioned above – if they are reading this – you know I am talking about you.  You should know that I love you moon and back and better keep my secrets “Secrets😉.

KEEPER, REVEALER OR LEAKER – WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

Way back during 479 BCE – 465 BCE, there reigned a queen by the name Esther in the Persian Empire. Esther was the Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus, also identified as Xerxes I. The period during which Esther was made queen, was a turbulent phase for the Jews and hence Queen Esther decided to keep her nationality a ‘secret’. In course of time, Queen Esther went on to reveal a ‘secret’ plot made to annihilate Jews in the Kingdom of Susa (in the Persian Empire), to which the king heeded and thus a great disaster was prevented.

This is a slice of history involving keeping and revealing secrets!

When you and I ponder over keeping secrets or revealing them, do we keep the common good in mind or are we self-centered to decide on the basis of what good would it do merely to us? Well, unlike Queen Esther you and I may or may not get to impact history. But, our keeping or revealing secrets may impact the handful of lives surrounding us.

As a Counsellor, I am made privy to a lot of things. And so, as some common practice principles, I have the following lines written in my Counselling Room:

“What you say to me stays with me, except –

If you are trying to harm someone.

If someone is trying to harm you.

If you are trying to harm yourself.”

This instills confidence in people and builds up trust over time.

It is not too hard to spill the beans on others. But, being a confidante is not too easy.

There are times when you are made a party to some sensational information and your stomach is churning within, to let it out.

There are times when you yourself are under too much emotional strain and just cannot bear the load of another ‘secret.’

There are times when you are full to the brim of confidential stories from all around you, and just need to let some out before you can stuff in more.

In all such times, remember to muse on the impact it would create on others.

The wise king Solomon wrote, “…the one who has understanding holds their tongue.  A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”

There are times however, when secrets if kept hidden, would do more harm than good. Such times call for the exercise of prudent discretion and courage in divulging closely guarded facts.

The Bible says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

Keeping secrets speak of confidentiality and trustworthiness in a person. Revealing secrets if the situation so demands, speaks of wisdom.

Leaking secrets speaks of betrayal.

SECRETS: DO THEY REALLY HURT?

We All Have Stories We’ll Never Tell.

I don’t know who said this, but whoever did, couldn’t have said it better. The average person has at least one such secret that they’d rather take to the grave than tell someone else. We all lie, we all do wrong, and we all keep secrets, ours or others. No one is spared from this behavioral flaw. Yet, we have scriptures, reams and moral tales telling us to tell the truth, rather than keep secrets and not to create a mountain of lies to hide them. But the question is – Do secrets hurt? Or rather, do ALL secrets hurt?

Let’s first understand what a secret is. The dictionary meaning of a secret is –

Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.

But secrets are kept for different reasons –

  1. Commercial Secrets – Like Coca Cola’s recipe! In legal parlance, they’re also called ‘trade secrets’, because they give the owner an edge over the competition, and are the basis of their product’s/service’s success. Such secrets are required to be maintained for obvious commercial benefits. Because of their commercial nature, such secrets are outside the purview of discussions on secret keeping.
  2. Secrets that Hurt – Some parents don’t tell their children about a coming divorce, to protect them from the agony of watching their parents separate. Some family members do not reveal facts about their health to the rest of the family, or certain people in the family, to avoid causing pain. Some do not divulge facts about an affair so that the marriage or relationship stays intact. Such secrets, if revealed, hurt others and may destroy relationships, and are thus kept under wraps.
  3. Secrets of Others – These are not our own, but belong to others, possibly a friend, family member, or an acquaintance and we are forced to keep quiet about them either because of loyalty or because they are not ours to reveal. Either way we are the ones who suffer along with the ones who’s secrets they are.
  4. Little Secrets – These harmless little things, like a crush, a small indulgence you have, a tête-à-tête with a nice neighbour, or harmless gossip, they’re all a part of our lives. We keep them a secret because revealing them, though may not harm others, may cause discomfiture. Like how you lied about not drinking at a friend’s place to your parents? Yes, we all do that.

Recent research, reported in The Atlantic, suggests that keeping secrets adds on to the stress we already have in our urban, modern lives. This article discusses how the harm in secret keeping does not really lie in lying to hide it from others, but in how frequently it weighs on our conscience and causes us mental stress. To quote Slepian, who has researched extensively on this topic and who’s research the above article is about,

Just because the goal of the secret is to hide it, that doesn’t mean the secret is only happening during the brief moments of when you need to hide it…

That means, according to the research, when we keep a secret, it weighs every now and then on our mind, pinches us that we’re wrong, and causes the release of stress hormones, which in the long run, are harmful for our health. No wonder high stress jobs like those of Politicians, CEO’s, Police Officers, cause health issues! My point is not to generalize here but to observe the fact that a job where you have to not only  deal with crisis situations on a day to day basis, but also frequently withhold information, keep secrets and lie inventively, causes stress.

You can try it on yourself if you don’t believe me. Hide something from someone and lie about it, one day. Then tell a different lie about it to someone else the next day. And on the next to next day,  create yet another lie, this time conveyed to a third person. Carry this on for a few days, and then recollect all the lies connected to that one secret you wanted to hide. Can’t do it, right? Gets confusing and frustrating doesn’t it? Can you feel the stress one simple lie causes to you? Those researchers may have a point afterall!

And yet we keep secrets? Why?

I believe that it is because we all think that there are some secrets that need to be kept, because revealing them will only lead to unwanted chaos. 

Consider these examples –

A Man who had a fleeting affair with another woman  (not a physical one, but one with deep attachment) eventually realized that he was wronging his wife. He swore never to do it again, but keeps the affair a secret, for fear of harming his relationship and hurting his wife… Is he wrong to keep it a secret?

I plan a dinner with my gal-pals, and lie to my MIL, who loves a party of any kind, that she can’t come along because I have to go nurse a lonely friend. I lie because my friends and I need some time off from our families and because I know I won’t be able let my hair down with my MIL around. She’s my MIL after all…. Am I wrong in hiding this fact?  

My friend is going through a very painful period where she has found out that she can never be a mother. I keep it a secret from the rest of my friend group, on her request, because she does not want it revealed to everybody yet…. Am I wrong in hiding her secret?

I’m sure most of you will say ‘yes’ to the first and ‘no’ to the latter scenarios. Well, my answer is ‘no’ to all three. I believe that if a secret kept can save heartache in a relationship, prevent lasting wrong, prevent a broken home, a broken marriage, or a broken person, then it should be kept a secret. Of course, that excludes life and death situations or gross violations of human rights and morality.

I’ll bring to my aid that famous quote in the Mahabharata:

By telling an untruth for saving a life, one is not touched by sin.

There are times when a simple lie, for example one told to a child, that the needle won’t hurt, can soothe, can help, can keep someone happy. When I was practicing, I had to work on a lawsuit concerning the partition of ancestral property between the heirs. In the course of the lawsuit, it was discovered by our opponent’s side that one of the heirs on our side was adopted. The adopted boy didn’t know this fact. It led to a great rift in the already warring family and caused great pain to the parents of the adopted boy. He eventually left the family, even though the law makes no distinction between adopted and real children. Did the truth bring any good here?

Keeping a secret, therefore, is not a flaw necessarily. Whether it should be kept is dependent upon a person’s outlook, habits, the situation in which the secret originates and the reasons why it must be maintained. My point is that when we keep a secret, we need to ask ourselves a question, “Am I going to do everlasting or great harm to someone else, or to myself, by keeping it?” If your conscience answers in the affirmative, you should reveal it. The human mind and the way human moral principles have evolved, have ensured that its hardwired into our minds that lying is wrong, keeping secrets is wrong and that truth is supreme.

Pradita Kapahi, 2017

The Pradita Chronicles.

IT’S BETWEEN YOU AND ME…

John Gray wrote a book titled ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’. It delved into the subject of how different these two species are yet how complimenting. Women are always curious to share and divulge secrets, while Men tend to keep things to themselves. Keeping secrets is a tough task for ladies, especially when they are told ‘it’s between you and me!’

“There are mainly two kinds of secrets: one is not worth keeping, and the other is too good to keep.”

The world is full of secrets. They range from the captivating to the critical to the quirky but sometimes when secrets surface into reality; they can have damaging chain reactions.

So just what makes an individual privy to telling or not telling? Some people divulge classified information just as easy as a glass of water, while others remain such tight-lipped even torturers would be hard-pressed to pry open their mouths.

There are three main reasons why people find it tough to hold onto a secret; Firstly, some people are simply more open than others and share their feelings and thoughts more freely, so it’s more about the person’s temperament than the severity of the secret. As long as the content doesn’t play with professional or social boundaries, there’s not much harm done.

Secondly, and in contradiction, others can’t deal with the pressure confidential information affords them, so are keen to offload it – especially if it’s to do with guilt. For example, if they’ve done something wrong and think telling the other person will help get it off their chest, they share it as soon as they hang up the call. They feel relaxed to not have the added weight of the secret on their chest. But, there is a significant risk of backfiring here.

Last but not the least, some people derive a sense of power by sharing other people’s affairs while they often don’t like other’s talking about them, so it’s almost a way for them to shift focus from their own business, which is kept tightly under wraps. People may even use secrets as a form of social validation; knowing something, that other don’t know helps boost self-esteem, not to mention the attention received on washing someone else’s dirty linen. Typically this strategy is about self-doubt.

Interestingly, our secret-keeping habits can be tracked back to our parents and their inclinations; be it murmuring behind an open palm or maintaining an unbroken silence. It is very learned behaviour, especially if you have parents who don’t talk about their feelings or worry people know certain things will bring shame upon the family. When you’re younger you pick up cues about being allowed to share information; it’s implicit learning.

Another funny thing about secrets is that as they change mouth and ears, they change form. They become more dramatic, more fascinating, more devastating. Each one analyses it as per their vision and they add their version before passing it on. So if by chance they reach the ears of the secret owner, they have multiplied manifolds. For Eg, I saw her coming out of the parlour. I saw her coming out of the parlour with someone. I saw her coming out of the parlour with a man. I saw her coming out of the parlour with her boyfriend. And that is how a perfectly innocent secret turned into a gossip. 

I still remember once I was at my maternal grandmother’s home. My Grandma made Mango Panna(a sweet, salty, spicy and tangy drink made from raw Mango, supposed to beat the heat in summers), but no one ate it, it was kept in the fridge for the night. I slept in the night too, but next morning I saw all looking at me and laughing, giggling with their palms covering their mouths. Upon enquiry, they laughed harder.  I got furious and shouted at them all. Then they revealed that they knew, I drank all the Mango Panna in the night. I was aghast. I hate Mango Panna. I asked each of my cousins and aunts from where they got this info. Each one pointed to another. It all crashed on one of my cousins. I asked her if she saw me drinking the Panna, she told no, she was told by another cousin. She in turns told that she only told she saw me eating Mango. In truth, I had eaten Papaya last night, which seemed so much like a Mango. It was all a big misunderstanding which was passed as a funny secret. I was furious but laughed and I am still teased by the name of Mango Panna. 

You all must be wondering who drank the Mango Panna then? Well, no one. It was there in the fridge, shoved in a corner, but because all were so sure I had it all, they never bothered to look properly. That is the influence of a tangy secret.

It makes me wonder that secrets are such curse. One has to go through severe dilemma while trying to decide what to tell and what to keep with you, whom to tell and whom not to tell, when to tell and when not to tell.

Secrets can be destroying

My father kept his health issues a secret from me and my mum. We came to know about it from his colleagues from Chennai who came for his funeral when he passed. I hate his secret. I wish he had shared this with us and could have been saved. He had his reasons. But his secret cost us big time.

My uncle kept his debts and loans a secret from his family. He told no one that loan sharks were hot on his tail. Today he is in big trouble, it came down to the matter of life and death when he finally revealed it, but it was too late. He was beyond help.

My friend kept it a secret that her In-Laws were torturing her, that she faced domestic violence at her husband’s hands. It was revealed when she landed in a hospital. Her In-Laws tortured her so much that she drank poison. Her parents were devastated that she didn’t confide in them.

A little girl kept it a secret that her father molested her every day. She never told her mum why she was so afraid to be alone with Daddy. She is a kid, yet she kept such a big secret, and when the mother came to know, she divorced her husband. The little girl believed she made her mum sad by telling her secret.

Secrets can be beautiful

Secret lover, clandestine love letters. Love is so much more romantic till it’s a secret.

Secret Admirer, every girl wants a secret admirer.

Secret recipe, we all have one secret recipe, which only we make the best.

Secret ingredients, that one thing that all wanna know but can never guess

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl