You have them. I have them. And so does everyone else.
If you are lucky you have perhaps one or two people in your life with whom you can be fully transparent and authentic. But according to a recent survey more than 96% of us have things that we hide from others in every area of our life. What we choose to hide from our spouse may be different from what we choose to hide from our friends, which may be different from what we choose to hide from our colleagues at work. And that may be different from what we choose to hide from our boss.
But the vast majority of us choose to hide SOMETHING from others, in at least one area of our life. I'm not judging, just acknowledging the fact.
Most of what we hide isn't criminal or unethical or immoral. We tend to hide our vulnerabilities, those things that we fear would make others think less of us. Of course, if we ARE engaged in criminal, unethical or immoral activity we tend to hide that as well. But according to the survey this represents less than 20% of what people are hiding from others. The other 80% includes things like:
- I'm not as competent or disciplined as they think I am.
- I worry about a lot of things that I can't share with others.
- I don't love him/her as much as he/she loves me.
- I don't really work ultra-long hours, but I make it look like I do because that's what's expected.
- I'm not making as much money as they think I do.
- I have opinions about my boss and others at work that I can't really share.
- If I could afford it I would quit my job today. I hate it, but no one at works knows that.
- This is not what I really want to be doing with my life.
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. Now, I am not necessarily advocating that you or anyone else suddenly begin sharing all of your dirty little secrets openly with others. That much authenticity, if practiced by everyone all at once, might bring on a global apocalypse.
However what I do recommend for everyone is that you understand that EVERYONE has their own secrets. Their own insecurities and foibles and hidden flaws. Many, many, many of us make the profound mistake of comparing what we see on the OUTSIDE of others, with what we know is on the INSIDE of ourselves. This diminishes our confidence, our happiness, and our ability to feel good about who we are and the life we live.
So perhaps the next time you find yourself feeling a bit diminished because you are comparing yourself to another person who seems so much more than you – more more intelligent, accomplished, competent, disciplined, attractive, humorous, or anything else – remember that this person has his or her own dirty little secrets and there is probably no reason for you to feel in any way lesser than him or her.
I'd love to hear your perspective on this in the comments section. No need to expose your own dirty little secrets, but your thoughts on the topic would be interesting.
And of course I would appreciate it if you choose to "like" this article and/or share it on social media using the buttons below. (One of my own dirty little secrets is a deep feeling of insecurity whenever I post an article. "Will they like it and get value from it or just think it is banal or trite?)