Our Secrets Make Us Sick

Our Secrets Make Us Sick

If you have not discovered the entertaining series 800 Wordson Amazon Prime yet, you may wish to check it out. While it does not tout being a series about “aging” it is flush with the topic. Remember we are ALL aging no mater where we are on the developmental chart.

Mild spoiler alert…I am drawing attention to one of the newer episodes…so quit reading if you must.

The goofy and beloved surfer/handyman character Woody falls in love and becomes engaged. It seems that most everyone in town wants to throw an engagement party for he and his fiancé but something is wrong. He doesn’t want a party but is afraid to say so. When the “surprise/non-surprise party” is finally pulled off, we find out that something is not just wrong, but dreadfully wrong. Woody struggles to put a conclusion on to his engagement party speech and walks out the back door. He has a dreadful secret, which he only then shares outside to George the main character. It is obviously a very important secret that Woody has struggled with for years and it may ruin his entire future.

Perhaps the reason this “secret” was written into the plot is that the negative effect of keeping secrets is so universal. To be sure, I am not referring here to keeping a secret about what you are giving your sibling for Christmas. Rather I am referring to those negative aspects of life that we wish would never have happened. These could be occasions brought on by someone else or ourselves. These secret memories tend to be so negative that our natural psychological defense system may consciously or unconsciously bury them.

The fact is these secrets often have a profound effect upon our physical, mental, spiritual, and social health. We typically keep the secrets for fear of the potential ramifications. Yes, there may be ramifications if we share the secrets. However, in positive aging there are more and less productive ways to “live our truth”. If we are afraid of hurting other people with our revelations then we may be well served to open up to a professional psychotherapist, clergy, or attorney. If not, then we may want to experience the healing power of truth-telling.

The fact is that dragging around heavy old garbage tends to create negative rather than positive aging. Positive aging is partially about walking with more spring in our steps…that could just happen when we lighten our emotional load.

Tim Berry



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