Secrets Make You Sick

"My babies were forced to watch their own father punch me to the ground. They saw all of that; they were right there. Now I'm just trying to teach them that he's far, far away from us, and no one is going to treat us like that anymore. We're safe now."

This is a story of hope.

This is the story of two little boys and their mother, three people whose dark past has only made the light within them burn even brighter.

"He really was a deadbeat dad..." I listened to her words, but all I could see was the pain in her eyes. "He refused to work, but I never trusted him with the kids so I didn't want to leave them alone with him when I went to work. I didn't trust him because he would abuse them physically. And as for me, I was abused physically, mentally, sexually, religiously...everything."

As tears began to form in her eyes, I started to understand just how painful this moment was for her.

"I haven't talked about this stuff in what feels like forever," she said. "Usually I just try to ignore my emotions..."

Let's stop right there.

You see, that right there is the problem. You can't ignore your emotions. You can't stuff everything inside of you, hoping that it will someday disappear. Read these words very carefully:

SECRETS MAKE YOU SICK.

These four simple words have the potential to change your life completely.

The more you bury your feelings, the more you bury your potential to finally feel free.
The more you hide what's really going on inside of you, the more you will hide from the wonder to be found in this world.
The more you keep your struggles a secret, the more your struggles will stand in the way of you and your sanity.

Burying your feelings will only make them come back to life in the future.
Hiding what's really going on inside of you will only make you hide from the person you actually want to become.
Keeping your struggles a secret will only suffocate every hope or dream you've ever had.

Secrets make you sick.

I used to think that I could keep my secrets to myself, that they wouldn't make me sick. I learned the hard way that the secrets of the mind contain the struggles of the heart, and that entering those secrets alone is a very scary place to be indeed.

A close friend of mine struggled with an eating disorder throughout high school. She was ashamed of her illness, yet at the same time she felt like she had no way out. Instead of leaning on her family and friends, she kept this secret to herself for a while, and it ended up making her even more sick than before. Only now that she is learning to accept her illness and ask for help is she finally beginning to step in the direction of recovery. Secrets make you sick.

But here's some good news:
You don't have to be sick. You may be broken, at least for a little while, but you don't have to be "sick." The sign of a healthy person is one who first and foremost accepts the problem AND who then asks for help in overcoming that problem. You may be broken...you may feel sad, alone, scared, or lost, but you have all the power you need to be emotionally healthy, if only you make the simple decision to accept, to let go, and to ASK FOR HELP. Remember SECRETS MAKE YOU SICK.

A few months ago, I had a life-changing conversation with Chris Herren, former basketball player for the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics, who has struggled with substance abuse throughout his life. After sharing his story with me, Chris said the following: "The problem is the secret. Secrets make you sick. You gotta come out about it. Tell people about it. Don't be afraid. The more we hide what's happening inside of us, the more mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters we will have struggling with addictions or other issues. Stop keeping it quiet. Stop keeping it shushed. Shame on us for having this kind of culture."

His words apply to each and every one of us.

STOP KEEPING IT QUIET.
STOP KEEPING IT SHUSHED.

The more you keep the secrets of your struggles to yourself, the more your secrets will make you sick.

Take a risk; ask for help.
You have all the power you'll ever need right there inside of you.

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