You’ve got a secret. There are things you’ve never told anyone about yourself. You feel if other people knew they would completely change their opinion of you. In your worst nightmare they’d judge you and you’d be out there, on your own.
More people than you’d think have a secret. In a consultation I might ask someone if there is something they’ve never told anyone. ‘I don’t need you to tell me it’ I say ‘just tell me if there is something that no one knows about you’.
The reason I’m asking is to find out if there is an area of stress, a point of tension in their life, that could be causing a wobble in their core which in turn could cause a whole range of symptoms from high blood pressure to digestive problems, from period pains to verrucas.
All I need is for the person to tell me how they feel about their secret. Do they hide it because of shame, because of embarrassment, because of danger, to keep the peace? As a homeopath, and probably any other holistic practitioner, it is completely obvious that shame, secrets or fear are the cause of a lot of ill health. However, we are now not alone.
In a study called Revealing Personal Secrets, Professor Anita Kelly found that people who conceal personal information are more likely to suffer from headaches, nausea and back pain.
There is also research by James Pennebraker, a University of Texas psychologist, that shows that people who disclose a long held secret are found to be in better health a year or so later.
Interestingly, people who hide some personal information also literally feel weighed down by it, as shown in the Stanford University research that found that people who keep secrets experience the same sensations as people who are physically weighed down. When they were asked to think about a personal secret, and then judge physical effort, they judged hills to be steeper and distances longer than others who revealed their secret before making the judgement. ‘The more burdensome the secret and the more thought devoted to it, the more perception and action were influenced in a manner similar to carrying physical weight,’ says the study.
What I find surprising is the number of people who, without any further prompting or encouragement, disclose the secret that they have been keeping all their life. Perception is a strange thing, although sometimes the secret is big and scary, generally it appears to me small and insignificant although it is clearly a huge risk to them to let it out.
So when people feel better after a consultation I don’t automatically assume I’ve found the perfect remedy first time. People do feel better for telling a secret. That’s why we call it unburdening ourselves.
Often patients report that they have subsequently told someone else their secret too. I can’t think of anyone who said they have regretted doing it.
Remember: we keep secrets to avoid being judged and found wanting but it is damaging your health.
If you have a secret and you really can’t tell anyone about it, write it down. If you want help and would like to work towards better health with homeopathy, click here to contact me.