June 14, 2015

Don't disclose your secret to all and sundry


The great scribe Seneca says: “If you wish another to keep your secret, first keep it yourself.”
How apt is this piece of advice, abounding in wisdom! Of course, if you cannot keep your own secret, how can you expect others to keep it! The secret disclosed to someone with a “Please, don’t tell anyone” request often gets circulated around with a little bit of spice added to it. And when it comes back to you, most of the times, it is totally distorted and beyond recognition!

But why in the first place one divulges one’s secret to others? Is it in order to earn sympathy, to seek advice, to make sure whether you dealt  with a difficult situation in a right manner or not, or is it merely because you cannot digest your own secret and just have to tell someone to take it off your chest?


Well, if you discuss your personal problems with others only to gain sympathy, then don’t do it. Because by discussing your secrets and family problems with other people, you tend to make yourself a butt of ridicule or pity. Is it really great to be made fun of? No! People may show that they are sympathetic to you but they only make you an object of fun once you turn your back.

People divulge their secrets in order to earn sympathy, to seek advice, or merely to take it off their chest.

A friend of mine, Neetu, always talks about Nimi, her colleague in the office where she is working. Nimi is smart, drives her own car and is holding a good job. But she has been nicknamed “Miss Depression” by her colleagues because the moment someone known to her comes across her, she starts harping on how her parents ill-treat her, how her younger sisters and brothers are jealous of her and are always on the lookout for an opportunity to extract money out of her, and that nobody is thinking of marrying her off, etc. She reiterates that she is often very depressed.

All right, even if we believe for a moment that Nimmi is right, that does not justify her telling everyone about it. Are they going to help her out? No! There is no denying the fact that she is only indulging in self-pity which is not a healthy practice. Her colleagues always find excuses to avoid her company.

If you are faced with a very trying situation and don’t know how to find a way out and are in dire need of friendly advice, then you can disclose it to not every Tom, Dick or Harry but only to your close relatives and friends. But first make sure who are your “friends”!

In today’s world of cut-throat competition and self-centered ambitions, it is really something good if you have a friend to rely on! A good friend can prove to be a pillar of strength in adverse conditions and can point out the flaws and foibles that have gone unnoticed in your otherwise carefully chalked out plans to deal with adversity.

Deal with adversity
But you are in great danger of scaring off even good and reliable friends if you keep on discussing the same bitter and depressive experience day in and day out.

Once you have faced the adversity and it is over and dealt with, try taking the world in your stride and forget the unpleasant incident.  After all, even your good friends are also human. They also want to talk about lighter things and not go on having the heavy and depressive talks forever!

If you are suffering from a physical ailment, then hide it by all means from the world but pour your heart out to your doctor, without leaving out a single word because only your doctor can provide you relief from your ailment. No one else is going to suggest a better treatment. So, don’t think it would be wise not to broadcast your diseases to the world!

Digest your secret

If you cannot “digest” your own secret and it is for this reason alone that you whisper into others’ ears, then you better visit a physician to get your digestive system toned up! Otherwise, your “indigestion” is going to land you in deep waters and no one else needs to harm you because you can prove to be your own worst enemy!

If someone trust you enough to divulge his / her very personal secret to you, then handle it with care and don’t let him / her down by broadcasting it around. Do not grill the other person for more information.

Let the person decide himself as to how much he wants to disclose.

Try to be a sympathetic listener when he / she opens up to you. And since have been entrusted with a secret by your friend, don’t take it as if you have secured a copyright of that secret and can take it up as and when you desire, irrespective of the fact that your friend may not want to discuss it again.
Sometimes it so happens that one discloses one’s secret in a weak, emotional moment which otherwise he / she may never have disclosed and perhaps never again wants to be reminded of in future.

So, respect the other person’s desire for privacy and do not betray his / her trust in you. Don’t behave in a manner that makes him / her regret having ever made you his / her confidant. You have no right to discuss with a third person a secret which does not belong to you.
Disclose your secrets only to those who are close to you and who, you think, can help you in some way. Otherwise, remember, silence is golden.

Your tarnished image is often the concomitant of your habit of disclosing secrets to all and sundry.
It’s puerile on your part to think that everyone will look at things from your point of view.

(Contributed by S. Chavan)


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