I Have A Secret, Can You Keep It?
The fastest way to become obsessed by something is to avoid thinking about it.
Carrying a secret is tough to do. As soon as something is named a secret, our minds want to banish it from our thoughts. What happens? Suddenly we cannot get it out of our mind. It’s as if we’re unable to stop thinking about that something.
We humans are poor secret keepers. We think we’ll be good, we start out with the best of intentions but for a million different reasons, we often fail.
A secret. To be a secret, there needs to be a reason for preventing others from knowing. Otherwise, there’s no point to it being a secret. So, why is a secret a secret? There are loads of reasons for keeping a secret – for withholding, for keeping private, for sharing with a clandestine few.
The reasons for secrets are many. Shame is certainly a secret motivator. There’s also fear – fear of being “found out”, fear of consequences, even fear for one’s safety. Sometimes we keep a secret because we think our values are different.
Let’s not forget family secrets. Whether it’s a genetic trait, the dark deeds of a long lost uncle or a recipe, some families have secrets.
According to Harvard Psychology Professor, Daniel Wegner, our minds become so preoccupied with a secret that we exaggerate its importance. To carry it even further, Wegner’s research shows that the obsession with secrecy in love affairs actually heightens the attraction. Is the attraction real or is it the sensation of secrecy?
Keeping a secret is a form of deception. When we are asked to keep a secret for someone else, it’s much like being asked to lie, to withhold information. Worse yet, it’s likely we’ll have a hard time keeping the secret, well, secret! Will you keep my secret?