Your Secrets: How to use them to get what you want
If you're like most people you love secrets. And if you're like most people, you have secrets of your own.
Carefully hidden and closely guarded, your secrets reveal the innermost side of you; that inner and sometimes darker, shadow self. The one that no-one knows.
Maybe least of all yourself.
The best thing about your secrets, you believe, is that they'll never see the light of day.
This is not what you want.
The saving grace about secrets is they are the lock and key to revealing your inner strengths and latent qualities. When dreams of who you could be collide with what you are then your secrets are the key. By bringing them into the light you'll discover what it is that's holding you back. And when you know that you'll be on the road to getting to where you want to go and showing who you really are.
External clues to internal secrets
Want to know what secrets you're keeping from yourself? If you're not getting much insight from within, start tuning into the clues you're getting from your world.
Often what you find difficult to admit to yourself, you find hard to tolerate in other people. Those who boast, those who make mistakes, who stammer, are shy, or overeat. They're reflections of a part of you that you suppress or hide from others, and perhaps yourself, convinced you're not like that.
The truth is we find it intolerant because it reminds us of a part of us we don't like or accept. And therein lies your clue.
One of my clues came to me in a strange way. After many years of this, I eventually became aware that my inability to sit through a suspenseful, exciting scene in any kind of movie occured in other contexts in my life. While I'd become nervous and close my eyes if I was in the theatre, or go into the kitchen if I was at home, in my daily life as soon I started to do something that was exciting and rewarding for me such as a new creative project I would avoid it and do whatever I could to avoid it, like take frequent breaks. It dawned on me that this was the reason I procrastinated - it was nerves. I worked through this by reframing it, and came to understand it was in fact excitement that I was onto something big!
Don't do what you did
So what's the worst thing you've ever done? Or, what do you continue to do now that holds you back? By holding you back, its keeping you in a comfort zone. Perhaps it's a zone of control, of power, or stability, where there is no forward movement or growth. What do you find difficult to do that you say you should do?
Are you someone who takes pride in being open and transparent with your customers yet you cheat on your partner, you stop short of giving away key information that would send your customers to the competition, or help others succeed? Do you talk up your successes and play down the roles of others? Do you keep a habit that you're ashamed of? Are you intolerant of other people's mistakes? Are you a perfectionist and perhaps critical of others mistakes, and therefore your own?
What is it you do that you would rather not do? Identify that and then take steps and do what you would normally not do.
Who doesn't love a good secret, especially those about other people? Whether or not we know these folks their secrets can be intriguing. Through them they give us an indication of their motives, their inner selves, what drives them- and what they secretly hide. And in this way they tell us about ourselves and affirm our own humanness- maybe we're not so bad after all.
Yet the most inspiring stories that warm our hearts and tell about the nobility of the human spirit are those where people overcome adversity, temptation, or manifest courage, sacrifice and immense generosity of spirit. Would I, could I ever do that, you ask yourself, if I were in that situation.
Some things you wouldn't hesitate to do. Called upon to rescue a drowning child most of you would jump into the water in a heartbeat. Other situations you simply know it would take immense power of will on your part to do something. Like loan your new car to a friend, invite a homeless person to your house to share your dinner, give up your weekend to help someone you don't like move home. Or, God forbid, reveal your secret.
The fact is, as human beings, we are inherently noble creatures and have the capacity to act with integrity. We often don't do noble things its true- but not necessarily because we don't want to. Often we find it difficult and sometimes we simply don't know how, no-one's showed us or modelled to us the highest and most principled way that we could act. And beneath it all our underlying strategies, which govern how we think and behave, are about our safety and our self-interests - our secrets.
Secrets are the hidden ‘stuff' that reveal your in-congruencies. The personal slant you give to things that allow you to continue doing what you do. The guilty knowledge of promises you make to yourself that you don't keep. Whether something from your past, or a present truth- its hurts to hear it. Which is why often the least painless way is to pay attention to other people's stuff. We can falsely boost ourselves along when we don't want to face our truths and when accused out loud we can justify it be becoming outraged, guilty or upset.
But when reaffirmed of our capacity to act above and beyond the call of duty, or to perform simple good deeds to neighbours and strangers during times of suffering and distress, our confidence in ourselves and each other is restored. And we're reminded of the power we have to be genuinely 'good' and to make the right choices. That we can do better and have within us and before us the ability to make new decisions, create new beginnings and manifest the potential noble qualities that lie inherent within each of us is a supremely reassuring thought.
The key to moving forward is to look inside. Start with you and find within what it is that holds you back- so subtly but surely. Whatever the answer is for you, it's right there.
He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Steps to Successfully outing your Secrets
- Look within, remembering to tread kindly and go easy on yourself while you explore. The only rule is to be non-judgemental and utterly detached- just as if you were a scientist watching the results of an interesting experiment.
- Think of the promises you have made to yourself. Choose one of them that you haven't kept but which remains important and see what steps you can start doing now to fulfill them. What is the cost of remaining where you are, doing what you keep doing?
- Consider a quality that you admire and choose someone who emulates it well. Or, think of someone you look up to, or inspires you. What quality is it about them that makes you like them? Identify it and model it, starting with small baby steps. Pretend to be them with that quality and do as they would do, act as you think they would act, and think as they would.
- Decide that you will no longer listen or indulge in gossip. It keeps you externally focused and saps you of positive energy. If you're looking for role models then those who gossip aren't yours.
- Concentrate on the good things about you- your strengths and think of what you do want to achieve and the person you want to be, not what you don't want. There's a big difference between the two - one if positively focused with high energy, the other negative and depleting.
- Forgive yourself of past mistakes. A friend of mine found herself with a severe back injury after neglecting the tell-tale initial signs several months before. After berating herself in the beginning, while lying in bed, she realised as she had been focusing on practising the quality of 'diligence'- on others. Her business focus had previously been centered around fulfilling her client's goals to the best of her ability, while neglecting her own needs.
- Plan your next step - make it small and achievable. Remember 'baby steps' to kick start the process until you get greater momentum.
- Celebrate each positive step as you get greater congruence. Even a simple 'Yay me!' to yourself will help reinforce your forward progress.
Finish every day and be done with it.You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is part of the Hub Tennis series.
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