“By Maya James , of Thin Difference”
I recently bought an apartment. I mean like still have a couple of boxes to unpack, recently. As most of you know from first-hand experience or can imagine, purchasing property of any size can be daunting. To some extent, it was, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, and I think I know why. For the first time in my adult life, I have consciously done something extremely progressive for me. I have been keeping more secrets. Not bad secrets. The good kind — my joys, projects, dating exploits, large purchases (like my apartment) and travel plans. And it feels so good!
Can You Keep a Secret?
I have spent most of my life being super transparent about everything. I would spill the “tea” on just about anything, with just about anyone. I cringe at the things I shared. Everything from telling my boss what specifically was ailing me to letting all of my friends know everything about whichever new guy I was dating.
My honesty and upfront nature was a problem, to say the least. It set the tone and opened the door for friends and family and even associates alike to add input into every aspect of my life. Whether invited or not, someone always had something to say. So when the opportunity sprung up to buy a co-op apartment, I jumped on it and shared details only with those with very close proximity to the situation. That initially totaled all of five people. From there I informed people of my plans on a strict need-to-know basis. Some only learned after I moved into my new space. I discovered that there is power and peace in keeping details and your intentions to yourself.
The Power of a Carefully Kept Secret
By keeping my mouth shut, I eliminated stressful and anxiety-inducing second-guessing. Without unsolicited opinions, suggestions, questioning – I could be decisive, confident and most importantly, at peace. I recently watched a clip of a radio interview with artist, singer, songwriter Saul Williams, who so eloquently said: “…your diet isn’t only what you eat. It’s what you watch, what you read, it’s what you listen to, and so I’m mindful of what I ingest.” He goes on to speak on minding one’s diet and how he didn’t have a tv because he was “monitoring” his. I have taken a similar path when it comes to the advice and influence of others.
Like Mr. Williams, I try to limit the garbage in my mind. I’m careful of the words that I take in. Taking advice or suggestions in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but someone always having a say or opinion about what you do, can be exhausting. The subconscious message being that they are not completely confident that you know what you’re doing or what you should do. That’s not a positive message to ingest. It’s why we meditate- to de-clutter our minds of those messages.
What’s crazy is, when you keep these “secrets” and isolate yourself during whatever your particular journey may be, it can upset those who are used to telling you what to do or what you should do. “What’s the big deal?” one might ask. It is a big deal. It sets a tone and puts into place boundaries for friends and family. Which is something I didn’t always establish. It put me in this space of being infantilized. How can I impress upon others that I am a grown woman completely capable of making my own decisions when I invited these same people to provide their approval of every little step I made?
While making tough decisions, don’t allow everyone’s input to throw you off. And believe me, everyone’s got input. “Oh, you’re painting? I know a good painter.” Now you’ve added another painter to your list of painter options, and wondering is your painter a good choice after all. It’s not always necessary. The best decisions are usually already within you. Though it’s hard to access them through all of the noise. Silence yourself, listen and learn to keep a secret.
How has keeping some decisions or actions to yourself helped you in your life and work?