Should you spill? (Picture: Getty / metro.co.uk)
It’s highly likely that you’re keeping at least one secret right now.
And if it’s a big, bad secret, that’s likely weighing on your mind.
It’s tempting to assume that the only way to lift the burden is to spill – speak your truth and stop having to carry around something secret.
But is that always the right call?
Michael Slepian is an associate professor of leadership and ethics at Columbia University. In his new book, The Secret Life Of Secrets, he explores the secrets we keep, why we keep them, and how these can shape our lives… so he’s basically an expert on secrets.
He reckons that sometimes, telling certain people a secret isn’t the best shout – but in general, confiding in someone is is a good idea.
While freeing yourself of a secret will always feel good, it might not benefit the person you’re telling.
He writes: ‘It can feel good to unburden yourself of a secret, but what happens after that?
‘Confessing might feel great until the person you confess to breaks down in tears, bursts into anger, or in a dramatic gesture rips off a wedding ring and throws it into the ocean.
‘The consequences of confessing will largely depend on how the person responds.’
If you’re deliberating on whether or not a secret should be told, Michael proposes asking some questions.
Confessing nearly always makes you feel better (Picture:Getty/Metro.co.uk)
He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Is anyone being harmed by the information being contained? Is this something that will eventually be learned, or could be learned through some means other than your telling? Would the other person expect you to share this with them?
‘If you answer yes to these questions, you should likely confess, and take control over how others learn the information.’
On the flipside, though, some secrets are doing no real harm in remaining secret – and could do more harm were they to be revealed.
If your secret falls into this category, and there’s really no chance of the truth ever coming out, perhaps it’s better not to reveal all.
But what Michael does suggest, in this case, is to tell someone, even if it’s not the person that the secret directly affects. This will not only help you relieve some of the mental strain, but can also help you to suss out if actually, you do need to be honest about the secret with others.
‘If you are trying to decide whether to confess a secret, there is no reason to make this decision alone,’ He tells us. ‘Talk to a trusted other, and see what they think you should do.
‘Sometimes the decision is too complex and the consequences too great to decide something like this on your own.
Secrets can really weigh on your mind (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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