The problem with keeping secrets is that as soon as we’re told to keep something secret, we’re suddenly struck with a burning desire to tell the very next person we see. It doesn’t matter what the secret is about. It’s the simple fact that it is privileged information someone has entrusted to us with the tantalizing caveat: keep it a secret. Even if you manage not to actually tell the secret there’s this little glee at having the secret and wanting to gloat, “Me, me, me- I have information you do not, shhh… it’s a secret!” What sort of person has the iron clad will power to hold onto information delivered with the instruction to keep it a secret? There are three qualities inherent to being able to keep a secret.
You can keep a secret if you possess one of these qualities.
Many people are professional secret keepers because the ethical obligations of their jobs require it. Therapists, attorneys and members of the clergy hear people’s secrets every day and never reveal them. However, you do not need to be bound by the ethics of your profession to hold someone’s secret. Anyone with a strong adherence to the principle that it is wrong to tell someone’s secret is going to stay silent.
Fierce loyalty to the person conveying a secret will prevent you from divulging that knowledge to anyone else. Your best friend, your partner, a sibling, anyone you share a tight bond with is someone who can trust you and share secrets with you. Personal loyalty is perhaps the strongest assurance that a secret will be kept.
One of the reasons it is tempting to reveal someone’s secret is because many of us just can’t help boasting when we’re “in the Know”. We are feeding our own egos and grabbing that moment of attention before we spill our news. Often, the momentary glow of having all eyes and ears on you is quickly replaced by guilt, knowing you broke the confidence someone placed in you. Conversely, someone who is modest, even meek or shy, will avoid being the center of attention. Humility is the quality of being humble or having a lack of pride, which makes for a very good secret keeper.
So, do you possess what it takes to keep a secret or are you the first person to tell someone else?
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