Do you have that one thing from your past that you can never bring yourself to tell anyone? Do you find yourself keeping your family’s secrets? Do you keep thinking about that thing you’ve never forgiven yourself for? Are you worried that if this skeleton in the closet were revealed, it would have a huge negative impact on other people’s perceptions of you? Are your relationships suffering because of it?
There are a few secrets that are buried so deeply in the past that they are no longer relevant in your present life. Not all truths need to be shared to maintain a happy, healthy life. Perhaps you have forgiven whomever you needed to forgive. Maybe you have come to terms with it. Regardless, these secrets no longer affect what you do in your present day life.
There are however, more deep-rooted, traumatic kinds of things from our past that result in excessive stress and guilt for the person carrying the burden of this knowledge. No matter how hard we try, feelings of shame, despair, confusion, fear and anger follow us everywhere.
These secrets can cause negativity and self-loathing, which keeps us stuck and unable to move forward in our lives and relationships. Rather than giving ourselves a break, we tend to take the path of greatest resistance.
As we become more skillful at living, we also become more skillful at putting up a good front and making ourselves look good—perhaps even to ourselves. But in fact, our behavior may not be as healthy as we think. Not dealing with these feelings can set us up for toxic behaviors and relationships later on. When we fight or push down emotional pain, we get trapped in it.
The basic premise of therapy is that a secret kept in the dark grows and becomes more harmful, but once it is exposed to light or released, it’s power is lost. The longer you keep something buried, the longer you have to continue to lie to yourself. Being honest and open with yourself, allows you to become who you want to be. In some cases, healing means cleaning up the wreckage of the past.
Therapy will help you deal with difficult emotions in new and healthier ways. When we recall the painful past in a safe environment, we weaken that memory’s association with the parts of our brain that drive fear and anger. We rewire our brains to take the sting out of those old wounds. In turn, we finally allow them to heal.
A place of peace exists for you, but only if you’re brave enough to cross that bridge.
What is it you are trying to hide, and why?