Posted by RycePapers | Filed under RycePapers
If you saw the movie ‘The Debt’ you know it referred to a secret. Sigmund Freud was said to remark: “Secrets make you sick.” Wow. This caused me to think about a friend who is keeping financial secrets (read ‘repeat credit card debt’) from her husband. What bothers me is that now I know her secret, every time I see her husband, I feel sick. Personal debt is at record high levels so my friend is not alone. But why not just spill the beans and be honest about it?
While we may think of honesty as black and white, the reality is we often treat it as mostly grey. ‘I spent about $100’ you say, which is true when you use the weasel word ‘about’. $100 is about $110, then so is $150 and so on. It’s kind of telling the truth, but why be vague when you could be exact? Believe me, the bank won’t ever say: You owe us about $100,000. I like plain vanilla numbers where $100 means $100. The numbers don’t lie, is a well-used phrase, but people do.
When we want to be in healthy relationships, at some point we need to bring out the yucky parts of ourselves. Psychiatrist Carl Jung called this ‘the shadow’. He wrote about how when we get feedback that something we did or said is bad, we pack it into an imaginary sack that we carry around with us. These disowned parts of ourselves remain there, and can tend to jump out of the bag at the most inappropriate moment, and sometimes even get outed, again at the most inappropriate moment. How many financial secrets have been exposed from unpaid bills discovered at the bottom of a drawer, or unexpected phone calls from VISA asking for a payment, or credit cards being outright denied?
Denial is one form of not addressing the secrets: that familiar shoving down of feelings, like denying you are in financial trouble, or relationship trouble. If you just don’t look, maybe it will go away. Those of you who have experienced the fallacy of this idea are probably laughing your heads off right now. Not only do the secrets persist, but they gain power and can overwhelm, again, at the worst possible time. One of the funny parts of living alone is that I can’t lie about where I spend my money or it would become a comedy skit. “No, I did not spend $35 on a pedicure. Yes you did. No I didn’t.” Call in the shrink!
A favourite book of mine is The Chambers Dictionary. When I look up secret it tells me: kept back, guarded against discovery, unrevealed, hidden, secluded, preserving privacy. Secret comes from the Latin for apart and separate. This seems the opposite to the word integrity, meaning wholeness. In 2005 integrity was the word of the year from Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Last year it was pragmatic. Times change.
Some secrets are harmless and some are important. Trust me: I don’t want to know national secrets. And I’m not asking you to share your financial information with me: I’m asking you to share it with yourself. To make ourselves financially healthy we do need to look squarely in the mirror and tell the truth. Because the expression is ‘true blue’ not ‘true grey’ or ‘true sort of’.
Telling the truth about your numbers means you are working with good data. Never again will you say “I don’t know where the money went” because you will know. You may not like where it went, but there will be no secrets. A French proverb states: there is nothing so burdensome as a secret. And Gestalt therapy says change comes about from a full acceptance of what is. So rip off the bandage of your financial secrets and make a fresh start knowing exactly where you stand.
That is what’s on my mind today, what do you think?