I wrote this entry about eight months ago but then shelved it for a time. The secret I thought I had, ended up not being so much of one as I'd thought. Yet, keeping secrets and maintaining integrity is an real concern for me, and maybe for you...
As an Aspey[i], I pretty much gave up lying and secret-keeping about the same time I left my teen years behind – simply because I was so bad at it. I never had a poker face. And if someone asked me something related to any information I was trying not to share, I couldn’t come up with a convincing half-truth in that split-second before they expected an answer.
I admit that I once thought I was "holier" for doing this but I finally admitted that I simply stopped doing something I was bad at anyway.
Now I have a secret. Though I’ve shared it with a few people, it seems best to keep it to myself for the present.
And I don’t like it. Being so out of practice, it’s hard. As yet, no one has approached me with the dreaded question, but how long can I expect that to last? And what will I answer? Besides the whole “I’m a lousy liar” there’s the issue of integrity. I want to be honest.
Contrary to what we may have learned, keeping secrets isn’t necessary bad for a person. Michael Slepian, professor at Columbia Business School, studies the psychology of secret-keeping. In a recent study, Slepian surveyed people about the nature and extent of their secrets. Earlier, he had discovered that the bigger the secret, the greater the potential harm to its keeper. This time, he wanted to examine the connection between secret-keeping and lower wellbeing. He found that rather than the secret’s content, what mattered was how often a person thought about their secret – the more they thought of it, the lower their sense of wellbeing. For many people, the sense of inauthenticity is what is most damaging.[ii]
Hm. Inauthenticity is the biggest threat to my wellbeing.
In Wired for Authenticity: Seven Practices to Inspire, Adapt & Lead, Henna Inam, CEO of Transformational Leadership Inc., talks about a leader’s need for authenticity. I haven’t read the book, but I read Skip Prichard’ conversation with Inam about the 7 Practices of Authentic Leadership that she proposes. #5 resonated with me.
Choose Be before Do ... ‘Who am I being right now? Am I acting from inspiration or fear?’ [This is a big question for me.] Who we are being is constantly changing. ... We are constantly doing – without slowing down and getting curious about who we are being.’[iii]I'm so busy doing, doing, doing. I do because
- I have a job and people expect me to accomplish things. I'm a people pleaser (and I need the paycheck);
- Besides working at my job, I have a home to maintain, dishes and laundry to wash, grass to mow, etc.;
- Beyond all that, I want to be out-of-doors, planting, weeding, pruning, walking.
‘Who am I being right now? [iii]
[i] A person with Asperger’s Syndrome
[ii] http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-20428-001 as referenced at https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/keeping-secrets-isnt-bad-for-you-with-one-exception.html