Ronna Fisher, Editor-in-Chief
But wait—actually, don’t. It turns out that I am a terrible secret keeper. This is something I began to discover about myself around the second semester of my sophomore year. Oh, the things you learn in college! I have gotten into quite a bit of trouble with friends for not keeping secrets very well. Since then, it is something that I have been working hard at and, hopefully, getting better at.
Here are three selfish reasons I share secrets:
1. I like to feel important. When someone values me enough to share a part of their lives, I get excited. I feel significant. However, no one else will know how special you are unless you tell them. I get a little buzz from knowing something that others don’t, and it is hard to contain. When I was younger, I always got a kick out of telling my mom what my little sister made her for Christmas. Tears would ensue…along with a few slaps, probably (from my sister, not my mom).
2. I am interested in people. I love to know about people and their stories. And, I like to share my interests with other people.
3. Sometimes I am unaware of what is confidential and what is just something that is being shared. Sometimes I assume information is common knowledge unless I am explicitly told, “Mum’s the word.”
Neither of these are excuses, although I have used both of them as an excuse multiple times. In fact, they just show my human tendency to put myself before others. To break my blabber-mouth habit, I have begun asking myself before I share any information, “Do they really need to know this?” More often than not, the answer is no. I often have to remind myself multiple times in my head during a conversation, “They do not need to know this. I do not need to tell them this.” It has been very successful for limiting my secret-telling and my little nasty gossip habit.
Recently, though, I found myself sharing a pretty hefty piece of information. This information did directly impact my life, and it was something that oftentimes stressed me out. However, it still was not mine to share. I was talking to very close friends that I could trust. It was not a matter of whether or not this would get out to anyone because I knew it would not. So, I thought this could be an exception.
I instantly regretted sharing. I felt dirty inside. I went to bed replaying our conversation over and over again. How I wanted to take it all back in. I was expecting relief, release from a burden, but, instead, I felt really low. So, this is who I am: untrustworthy, I thought. This is not who I want to be: a person who gossips and shares other people’s thoughts, feelings and stories—a low-life.
It was too late. There was nothing to do except move on and do better. I want to have control; I do not want words to slip out of my mouth sneakily, involuntarily out of habit. I want the words that come out of my mouth to be uplifting, honorable. I do not want to have to make weighty promises to keep my mouth shut. I should not have to. Another lesson in the power of words and the tongue. Who can summarize the moral of my tale better than James?
“A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it.” James 3:4-6 (The Message)
May our words create, not destroy, turn chaos to harmony, and heal scars instead of inflict them.