9 things in life you should always keep private, according to psychology

There’s a fine line between being open and oversharing.

Keeping some things to yourself isn’t about creating a false image, it’s about maintaining your personal space.

Psychology backs this up, stating clearly that there are certain aspects of life you should always hold close to your chest.

In this article, I’ll share the 9 things you should always keep private, guided by psychological insights. These aren’t about secrecy, they’re about healthy boundaries.

Let’s dive in. 

1) Personal life details

We all love a good story. And often, those stories are about our personal lives.

But psychologists suggest that oversharing personal life details can actually harm our relationships.

Why’s that? Well, oversharing can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or even misuse of information.

It’s not about hiding who you are, but about choosing wisely what you share and with whom.

Being selective with our personal stories allows us to maintain the privacy we need for a healthy mental space. It also helps us avoid unnecessary drama or conflict.

When you’re tempted to spill all the details, pause. Consider what you’re sharing, why you’re sharing it, and who you’re sharing it with.

2) Financial status

Money, it’s a sensitive subject. And according to psychology, it’s one of those things best kept private.

Sharing your financial status can invite unnecessary comparisons and judgment. It can disrupt the equilibrium of relationships, fostering envy or resentment.

I learned this the hard way.

Back when I was fresh out of college, I landed a job that paid pretty well. Excited about my newfound financial independence, I shared my salary details with a couple of friends. Our relationship dynamic shifted almost instantly. There were subtle changes – unexpected hostility, a sudden competition that was never there before.

And that’s when I realized my mistake. Money matters are best kept private. Not because it’s something to be ashamed of, but because it invites unnecessary complexities into relationships.

Now, I prefer to keep my financial status to myself. It’s made my relationships much healthier, and honestly, it’s none of anyone’s business but mine.

3) Future plans

Did you know that talking about your future plans can actually decrease the likelihood of you achieving them?

It’s a phenomenon that psychologists have studied extensively. When we share our goals, we feel a sense of accomplishment. The praise and positive feedback we receive tricks our brain into thinking we’ve already reached the finish line.

As a result, our motivation drops, and we’re less likely to put in the hard work necessary to actually achieve those goals.

When you’re planning on starting a new business, writing a novel, or running a marathon, consider keeping it under wraps until you’ve made significant progress. Your future self will thank you.

4) Family issues

Family, we all have one and they are as complicated as they are diverse.

Psychology suggests that discussing family issues publicly can lead to a sense of vulnerability. It’s like opening your home’s doors for everyone to peek in.

Every family has its ups and downs. Revealing these issues not only invades the privacy of other family members but can also create a negative image of them in others’ minds.

It’s okay to seek help from a close friend or a professional when dealing with family problems. But airing out family dirty laundry for all to see? That’s not the best approach.

After all, family matters should be solved within the family.

5) Good deeds

Doing good deeds is a wonderful thing. It speaks volumes about your character.

However, psychology suggests that constantly publicizing your good actions can come across as self-serving or insincere.

When you help someone, do it because you genuinely want to, not for recognition or praise.

Broadcasting your good deeds may also put others in an uncomfortable position, especially if they’re the recipients of your help.

Go ahead, be kind and helpful. But remember, true altruism doesn’t need an audience.

6) Personal beliefs

Our personal beliefs shape who we are and how we see the world. They’re deeply personal and can be a source of great strength.

However, psychologists suggest that sharing these beliefs too openly can lead to unnecessary conflict or misunderstanding.

Not everyone will see the world as you do, and that’s okay. Our differences make us unique.

Sharing your beliefs with someone who doesn’t understand or respect them can be hurtful. It can feel like an attack on your personal identity.

Protect your beliefs by sharing them thoughtfully and respectfully. Remember, it’s not about winning arguments but about understanding and being understood.

7) Your fears

We all have fears. For me, it’s heights. Just the thought of standing on the edge of a tall building sends chills down my spine.

But sharing these fears openly can sometimes give others a handle to manipulate us. It’s like handing someone the blueprint to our insecurities.

While it’s important to face our fears and sometimes seek support, it’s also crucial to choose who we share these fears with wisely.

Because, in the wrong hands, our fears can become weapons. So guard them carefully. It’s not about hiding, it’s about preserving your mental peace.

8) Past resentments

Past resentments can be heavy to carry around. They can hold you back and prevent you from moving forward.

Psychologists suggest that it’s not healthy to share these resentments openly. Talking about them over and over can keep the wounds fresh and hinder the healing process.

Moreover, constantly discussing past resentments can portray you as a person who holds grudges, which can affect your current relationships.

It’s important to deal with these resentments privately or with a professional, and work towards letting go.

After all, the past is in the past for a reason. It’s time to focus on the present and the future.

9) Your secrets

Secrets are called secrets for a reason. They’re meant to be kept, well, secret.

Psychology backs this up, stating that sharing your secrets can lead to a breach of trust and potential embarrassment.

Your secrets are your own. They’re the parts of you that you choose to keep hidden from the world. And that’s okay.

Hold onto your secrets. They’re yours and yours alone to share when, or if, you decide it’s time.

Final reflections: The power of privacy

The art of privacy is a dance between what we reveal and what we conceal. And in this dance, psychology plays a vital role.

Each of these nine areas we’ve discussed is like a room in the house of your life. Some rooms are open to guests, while others are more private, reserved for you alone.

Maintaining these boundaries isn’t about keeping secrets or hiding who you are. It’s about respecting your own space and the spaces of those around you.

In the words of the psychologist Carl Rogers, “What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.”

So, as you navigate your life and relationships, consider what you choose to share and what you choose to keep private. Because at the end of the day, your life is your own, and you have the power to decide how much of it is seen by others.

Remember, it’s okay to keep some doors closed. After all, a house without walls isn’t a home. It’s just a space.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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