So you’ve done some bad stuff. I mean awful.
That was yesterday. But now what? Do you keep it all to yourself? Or do you come clean to everyone?
When you have secrets about bad things you’ve done, pressure builds up until it becomes a bomb waiting to explode.
The pressure to keep those secrets indirectly affects everything you do. You might make decisions based on how well it covers your past, or avoid any activity which risks uncovering it.
And all to keep everyone from discovering your dirty little secret.
Why? Because if people find out, they won’t like you anymore.
They will disown you. They will judge you and think awful things about you for being an awful person. They will take your kids away. Your spouse will divorce you. The people you love will discover you are bankrupt, unfaithful, perverted, a liar, a thief, or otherwise intolerable.
Your pride is at stake. So you lock up the secret and try not to disturb the bomb.
After all, you can’t have anyone think poorly of you! You’re such a great guy to them (even though you can’t look yourself in the mirror).
And what is the dangerously explosive material building up inside this bomb?
The same which is at stake — pride.
If people knew your secret, the awful thing you did, your pride would explode, damaging your family, friends, and any trust they previously had in you.
But what if their love would look past your imperfection? What if others have awful things in their own past and would welcome you to share yours?
Or, what if everyone knows you’re hiding something, and they’re just waiting for you to come clean about it? (If you are hiding something, stop assuming no one has realized you are holding back!)
It’s time to defuse the bomb before it blows up in your face.
How? By detonating it yourself, a little bit at a time.
Contact trusted friends and counselors. You know, the spiritually grounded people who know you aren’t anywhere near perfect, yet they love you nevertheless.
Go out for coffee or give them a call, and just spit out the words which have haunted you for too long. Tell your secret. Be open and honest and — the dreaded “V” word — vulnerable.
Then see how you feel. Did you notice a huge sense of relief? Like you relieved a noticeable amount of pressure?
Of course! You showed humility and deflated your pride. You came clean, and although you are still ashamed of your past, you can at least experience an honest, empathic connection with a friend. How powerful!
And to let out some more pressure, tell someone else. Talk about the skeletons in your closet and ask for support.
Go ahead. Defuse the bomb.
One confession at a time.
How does it feel to tell a secret you’ve been hiding? What would you tell anyone who is hiding a big awful secret at this very moment?