Secrets…everyone has them. You wouldn’t be human and not have a number of them.

Some secrets are from your actions when young. Others are from things you’re doing or have done in adulthood. It could be a past or current addiction. Or even negative personality traits you’re afraid of – so you’ve kept them hidden.

It could be anything or a number of things.

Of course, there are things that need to remain secret. I definitely don’t advocate that you bare all and tell all. There are some skeletons that deserve to remain deep in the closet. But you need to make peace with them and close that chapter of your life.

I’m talking about the secrets that might be turning your life into a nightmare. Things that you wish you had someone to talk to about. Or events that are unfolding in your life, causing you lots of worry and fear.

It could be something that you know will probably come out in the open, but you’re too scared to work on it or sort it out.

Or it could be things that are happening in your life, body, relationships, job, or business right now and you’re scared to face them head-on.

So you spend time worrying about them and creating movies of impending doom in your mind.

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Secrets from my past come to haunt me…

I learnt a powerful lesson on the secrets that kill us a few years ago when I discovered a lump in the back of my throat. It wasn’t painful, but it was uncomfortable.

This thing started small then grew into something hard. Since it was unfamiliar, I’d find myself disturbing it with the back of my tongue. This went on for 4 weeks and then one day, the thing broke off and left a hole.

Before I could complete celebrating, a new one started growing. Once again, it broke off after about 4 weeks and a new one began growing.

This continued for about 5 months. Each time the growth broke off, I heaved a sigh of relief and then waited in fearful anticipation for the next one to sprout. Sure enough, a few days later, a new one would start forming.

Those 5 months were among the worst of my life. I was scared and thought that it was the big C – Cancer. Unfortunately, this also came at a time when I was broke and didn’t have medical insurance.

Even worse was the niggling belief at the back of my mind that I had no one to blame but myself.

You see, in my university days, I smoked and drunk…a lot. Life was great and we could do anything we wanted – totally without limits!

I’d learnt how to smoke while still in primary school, courtesy of my elder brothers who were in high school. The habit got worse in university where it was considered cool to smoke, drink alcohol, and party the week away.

These two addictions had a  stronghold on my life until 2006 when I quit cold turkey. I made a decision to overcome the addictions and threw away my cigarettes.

That was the end of the friendship between me, cigarettes, and alcohol. The resolution I made that day worked and has stuck to date.

So fast forward more than a decade later and here I was, thinking that I was paying for my past sins.

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I was very scared. Each time I had a free moment, my mind became like a dog with a bone and went to its favourite topic of the day…cancer. It didn’t help that I knew 2 people who had died of throat cancer so I had loads of info to feed on.

It took 4 months before I gathered enough guts to tell my husband and sister. They insisted on me getting medical attention and even offered to go with me. However, I buried my head in the sand for one more month, hoping that my body would sort itself out.

When I finally went to the hospital, I found an elderly and very chatty Indian doctor. He looked into my throat then sat down and had a good laugh as I gave him the history of my perceived illness.

It so happened that the ‘thing’ had fallen off the previous day, and this time, a new one didn’t form immediately. So the only thing the doctor saw was some redness in the area where I was convinced there was a hole.

His diagnosis was simple. He had seen many cancerous throats in his years as a doctor, and he had seen them at all stages of development. Mine was just a healthy throat with a bit of infection. The infection released pus which hardened and would fall off periodically.

That was yucky knowledge, but it was definitely more preferable than the alternative!

I went home with antibiotics, mouthwash, his business card, and instructions to call him if it formed again.

Imagine that!

Having spent 5 months worrying and all for nothing!

I felt like slapping myself because my main fear was not about the disease. It was more about having to reveal details of my past alcohol and smoking addictions.

Today when I think about it, I realize that the fear of what people would say about me was bigger than my desire to heal. People’s opinions had such a stronghold in my life that I was willing to stay sick rather than face the threat of my secrets going public.

Had I told more people about it in time, the pressure to go to the hospital would have been greater. So I’d probably have gotten it checked out earlier.

But, as the doctor asked, suppose it really was something that required urgent medical attention and I did not get it checked out in time. Chances are that by the time I went to the hospital, it might have been too late.

What’s your secret?

That was my secret and the lesson it taught me. What secrets are you holding that are killing you?

Secrets and fear of secrets leaking out keep many people from taking actions that will be beneficial in the long term. These secrets also have a way of growing bigger and bigger in our minds when they need not be.

It’s easy to allow your secrets to kill you slowly because the fear of that information getting out holds you hostage.

Your secret(s) may not be as simple as mine. But if you’ve read this far, I bet there’s something you’re hiding or are afraid to face.

It could be that:

  • You know something that you need to do, but you are not doing it.
  • You’re afraid of taking the next step although your relationship or marriage is over.
  • You’re in an abusive relationship or marriage, but you remain silent because you don’t want people to know about it.
  • You know deep in your heart that you are in the wrong career or job, but you’re afraid of facing that fact.
  • You’re broke and it’s getting worse, but you’re hoping for a miracle instead of scaling down your spending.
  • You stole money from work, but you don’t want to own up in time and face the consequences.
  • Your business is just one step away from the auctioneers, but you don’t want to sell or close it.
  • You’re in debt way over your head but can’t say “No” to financial requests from friends and family.
  • You’re in a clande (love affair) that’s about to blow up. But you’re hoping it won’t and still keep meeting your clande.
  • You hate something or someone so much that you are losing sleep (and your mind) over it.
  • Something happened in your past that’s been eating you up. You need to talk it out with someone or find closure for it, but you’re afraid. (This is a huge one for women who’ve had abortions, given away a baby, or been sexually abused).
  • There’s a whole load of stuff that was done to you by other people. You’re unable to face it, confront these people, or forgive them.
  • There’s a fear that has held you hostage for some time…secrets.

It’s time to let go

Whatever your secret is, the one that’s eating you up, it’s time to finally lay it to rest. Sometimes the consequences are not as bad as we expect and the relief that comes with letting go is amazing.

You know the secret that I am talking about because it’s something that makes you feel scared, unworthy, or ashamed. You’re unable to move on with your life.

In all, it leaves you feeling disempowered, powerless to act, and fearful of the consequences. It kills your confidence. It also holds you back because your fear of it is bigger than your desire for a solution.

One reason why I didn’t want to go see a doctor was that I didn’t want people to know about the person Iwas in college.

You see, for a long time, I pretended that I had always been a nice girl. Anytime I met someone who knew me in college, I ended that meeting very fast, some must have wondered what they had done wrong!

Acceptance, forgiveness, and growth

Today, I look back at the young wild girl I was in college and smile at some of her antics. I wouldn’t change her for the world. Truth be told, she helped form the person I am today.

Facing this secret has also helped me be more tolerant of people with addictions because I’ve been there. I may not like what these people do, but I’m more tolerant and able to separate the addiction from the person.

Acknowledge your secrets and seek help for the ones that are holding you back from living your life fully. Also, sort out the ones that need sorting out…you can’t escape this, my friend.

If you find that you’re unable to deal with your past, I recommend that you work with a qualified therapist or counsellor. These professionals will help you achieve quicker and more sustainable results as you heal, find closure, and create a new life.

Finally, no matter what has happened in your life to date, you still are worthy. You are great and deserve to be happier and more fulfilled. Take refuge in that thought and free yourself from the secrets that are killing you.

(Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.)

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