Sharing every detail about your life with others is unwise and potentially dangerous.
Man was built to be communicative and curious, and this makes keeping secrets not only paramount, but also a challenge in this day and age of social media.
It’s worth pointing out that by ‘secret’ I don’t mean the gossipy or otherwise mischievous variety that can wreak havoc in a person’s life and relationships. Take ‘secret’ to mean not divulging more than you need to.
Don’t get me wrong, communication and transparency are great, but only to a certain extent. Keeping certain secrets and confidential information to yourself can sometimes make the difference between life and death, landing a job or being unemployed, or having a malignant narcissist, sociopath or other toxic individuals lay waste to your life.
Spare yourself the stress and heartache — here are 5 things you should keep to yourself and why:
1. Your Personal Life
It goes without saying that your personal life is no one’s business, and telling others about your affairs can open you up to criticism, judgment and, worse yet, toxicity.
Are you familiar with the saying “don’t expose your belly”? In essence, when a dog exposes its belly to another dog, it is giving a non-verbal cue that it is submissive. You may unintentionally convey the same message by revealing too much about your faults and weaknesses.
Also, realize that you can’t trust everyone. Talking to the wrong person — that is, someone who can’t keep a secret or chooses not to — puts you at risk for becoming the subject of gossip, defamation and ridicule.
The choices you make should be your concern only. Not only will keeping certain aspects of your life a mystery and not sharing with others every detail of your personal life make you come across as more enigmatic, but it will also make you worthy of more respect than those who run their mouth about their goings-on, be they good or bad.
2. Issues With Your Family
As a survivor of narcissistic abuse largely at the hands of my family, I am of the firm belief that blood is not thicker than water. Family members with personality disorders can cut you deeper than anyone ever will, be it physically, emotionally and / or especially spiritually.
Even so, you must be careful with who you share your family issues with and what you share with them. There is nothing that draws toxic and negative people to those in pain faster than the aura of loneliness and woundedness.
Such people will unabashedly exploit your pain and perceived weakness, taking you for everything you have until you’re nothing but a husk. Instead, when meeting or interacting with people, bond over positivity and shared interests rather than negative family matters.
This is not to say you should be grateful to your toxic family members or pretend to be OK with the suffering they put you through, but the least you can do is to keep the negativity to yourself or confide in someone you truly trust rather than let it fester by attracting negative people non-conducive to your healing and growth.
3. Your Goals And Ambitions
Chances are, in addition to the ones you know of, you probably have a number of haters flying under your radar. Avoiding and dismissing the obvious culprits can be easy enough, but detecting the more covert ones — they can be anyone, after all — can prove difficult.
Haters will invariably try to derail you from your goals and ambitions, curtailing and stifling your progress. They may even try to take credit for your hard work.
From a more scientific angle, studies have shown that when we publicize our goal or ambitious, and others acknowledge the awesomeness of such “potential” changes, we receive and, subsequently, deplete our dopamine reward (“feel good” hormone) all at once, making us feel like we have already won. This inevitably makes us less likely to execute the future necessary actions to implement them.
Suffice it to say, keep your ambitions close to your heart, and work towards them with the least amount of attention.
4. Your Property And Assets
Considering that we still live in a world where millions of people are without basic amenities like a roof over the head and clean water, I am grateful for the abundance I enjoy on a regular basis. Even so, it would be foolish of me to parade around my assets like a badge of honor.
Humans are jealous creature, some more so than others, and most wouldn’t like hearing about your material gains. In fact, even something as seemingly harmless as hanging your graduate degree over your workstation could spark up the green-eyed monster in someone.
Take it from, I did exactly that, and things didn’t end well.
Keeping your property, salary and other material gains to yourself allows you to make conversation about much more pleasant things that likely won’t make others jealous.
5. Courageous And Good Deeds
As unfortunate as it is, even sharing your charitable deeds with others can prove harmful. Doing so can come across as arrogant and self-serving and should be avoided whenever possible.
The same goes for acts of bravery. We all face challenges every day and your achievements in these challenges should be rewarded appropriately.
Sure, it shouldn’t be a secret that you help those who are less fortunate, but it shouldn’t be global news either. Good needs and courageous acts are for others to deem noble, not necessarily you.
It’s Your Life And Journey
Sometimes sharing is not caring, and it’s OK to keep certain things to yourself. Life is a journey of opportunities and challenges, and it’s just much easier for people to be themselves when they’re not being judged, targeted for mistreatment or ridiculed.
I only wish I felt this way decades ago.