Break Your Secret-Keeping Cycle: 6 Steps to Freedom and Empowerment

By guest author Gretchen Hydo

In a world that values authenticity, it's easy to overlook a hidden universal truth. We all have secrets! Society's emphasis on presenting curated versions of who we are can cause us to lose sight of the profound impact our secrets have on our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

These secrets shape our beliefs and often become our inner narrative that defines our self-perception and becomes the stop point for our potential. Secret keeping is serious business and can cause significant damage to us emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, and relationally.

Secrets can be a breeding ground for shame, self-punishment, unworthiness, and self-righteousness. They obscure our true selves and can leave us feeling like impostors in our own lives. What’s up with that?

As a Master Coach, I've heard countless secrets, each varying in significance and shock value, highlighting the one thing that we all have in common – secret keeping is part of the human experience. Unaddressed, secrets drain us of our power, diminish us and define the way we think about ourselves and the world.

But what if you think you don't have any secrets? I know; you’re an open book, right? I used to think that about myself, too. But here’s the deal, secrets go beyond the actions that we’ve taken—like undisclosed debts, lies on resumes, or late-night refrigerator raids.

Secrets also manifest as distorted self-beliefs such as “I'm not good enough,” “people don't like me,” “I should lose weight,” “I can't keep up,” or “I'm better than everyone else.” These false narratives are the most damaging aspects of secrets because they keep us from progressing and taking personal ownership.

If we believe that we aren’t good enough, that we’re a fraud, that we should look different, feel different, that we are too much, or too little – we hold back. And when we hold back, we don’t go for our big dreams or take a full swing in our lives. The secret narratives are too strong and are doing what they kind to protect us from taking chances, being unsafe, and looking foolish. 

I told you, secret-keeping is serious business. That’s why we have to slow ourselves down and have the courage to take a look at the what and the why of secret keeping.

Understanding the driving forces behind our secrets is crucial for growth and fulfillment. And we all deserve to live lives that we love. Reflecting on our secret-keeping and the motivations behind them—whether seeking safety, security, belonging, or love—brings clarity and purpose to our lives. 

At the same time, we have to confront the factors that hold us back, such as fear of failure, concern about appearing foolish, and the persistent feeling of being an impostor – you know that how did I get here feeling or the idea that you have no idea what you’re doing and that someone else could do it better. These negative narratives keep us stalled, making it impossible to grab life by the horns and play full out.

And it’s time to change that.

To embark on your journey of self-discovery, engage in this secret-breaking exercise:

  1. Define your secret action: What have you done that you don't want anyone else to know about? It’s okay, we all have something.
  2. Reflect on the why of your actions: What drove you to do it? Was it self-protection, caring for someone else, seeking safety, value, belonging, love, inclusion, or care? Were you afraid of the consequences?
  3. Identify the secret narrative you hold about yourself because of this secret. This is important. Take time to write down what you say to yourself about yourself because this is the undercurrent of your life. 
  4. Reveal what is a resonant secret you identify with.  Is it dependency, feeling trapped, negative self-perception, addiction, fear of failure, or body image struggles?
  5. Embrace the truth: Explore how these secret actions and narratives have influenced your perception of what you can and can’t do and that actions that you will or won’t take. Acknowledge it without judgment or shame.
  6. Transcend the secret. Reflect on its impact on your daily life. Are you allowing it to define and limit your potential? Recognize your power to live authentically.

Navigating your secrets unveils self-awareness. Rather than sources of shame, see them as coping mechanisms you used when uncertain of alternatives. Confronting them takes courage, and even if you don’t feel like you have any, you do. You were courageous enough to protect yourself for all of these years, you can do this too.

Understanding the motivations behind your secrets empowers you to confidently move from secret keeper to secret breaker. And when you do that, you embrace the power within you, shed the weight of your secrets, and live boldly, and authentically.

Once you break free from those secrets, it's time to unlock your internal power.

Discover the Key to Self-Love & Empowerment

When you reflect on your life, what words spring to mind? Is it a symphony of joy, serenity, and adventure? Or perhaps it's a mix of challenges, confusion, and simply surviving the daily grind? The words we choose to describe our lives hold tremendous power. They shape how we experience both the world around us and the world within us. They offer a glimpse into our self-perception and can either uplift us or hold us back. But fear not!

You hold the key to rewriting your life's script and embracing the incredible power within you. It's time to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation that will leave you feeling unstoppable!

Unraveling the Stories We Tell Ourselves: Your Secret Narratives

Every day, countless women silently battle the weight of their negative secret narratives. These narratives are the sneaky whispers of self-doubt and self-criticism that plague our minds. They taunt us with thoughts like, “I'm not good enough,” “It's too hard,” or “Why can't I look like her?” These narratives, born out of our desire to protect ourselves, end up keeping us stuck and stagnant.

Take a moment to dig deep and reflect on your own secret thoughts. What negative narratives have you unwittingly embraced about yourself, others, and the world? The first step toward liberation is becoming aware of these invisible shackles.

Challenging the Inherited Beliefs That Hold You Back: The Power of Rules

Rules—we've all grown up with them. They're the beliefs passed down from family, caregivers, society, and institutions like a worn-out inheritance. But here's the catch: not all rules are created equal, and not all rules serve us well. “Be a good girl,” they said. “Aggressive women don’t get married,” they claimed. “Your dreams won't pay the bills,” they warned. These rules shape our lives, often keeping us playing small and stifling our true potential. It's time to challenge them head-on!

Take a bold look at the rules you've been taught. Are they still aligned with your authentic self? By questioning and reevaluating these inherited beliefs, you can break free from their limitations and embrace a life that resonates with who you truly are.

Escaping the Boxes That Define You: Liberating Yourself from Labels

Labels—we've all been labeled, boxed, and categorized by society. But here's the truth: those labels don't define us unless we allow them to. From the moment we enter this world, society slaps us with labels like “good girl,” “tomboy,” “procrastinator,” or “nurturer.” These labels become self-fulfilling prophecies, even if they don't capture the essence of who we are.

Take a moment to examine the labels you've accepted, both from yourself and others. Do they truly encapsulate your vibrant, multi-dimensional self? It's time to liberate yourself from these confining boxes and step into the freedom of self-expression.

By delving into your secret narratives, challenging inherited rules, and shattering limiting labels, you'll begin to unravel the patterns that have held you back. Embracing these three components of your life's tapestry is just the beginning. It's time to seize the reins, break free from your default legacy, and create a future that radiates with self-love, empowerment, and unwavering authenticity. Get ready to unlock your internal power and unleash the unstoppable force within you!

 The Author


Gretchen Hydo holds the highest designation of Master Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. As the creator of the 10-Stage Secret Breaking System™, she specializes in guiding individuals and organizations to make high-level transformations by breaking the rules, shedding their secrets, and changing their lives. As author of the book, Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets: A New You in 10 Secret-Breaking Stages, she is dedicated to helping women break free from the lies their false self whispers, about who they are and what they’ve done, and step into bigger living.

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