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  • Writer's pictureLehandra Riley

Teen Girls: The secrets we keep...

Do you have a secret?

Most girls out there have secrets; deep matters of the heart that they keep to themselves. Sometimes those secrets are deeply personal and quite challenging to deal with. Those secrets tend to stay hidden due to worries of being judged, ridiculed, or looked down upon. On the contrary, it is in sharing our experiences (and yes, even our secrets) that the real progress begins, and hope is born.

What type of secrets do girls keep?

Girls keep secrets about themselves, their love interests, their insecurities, eating disorders and even their successes. What are some of the secrets you keep? Did you know that when girls keep secrets a lot of times they feel more alone and in trouble?

What type of secret keeper are you?

Below is a quiz from the book Secrets Girls Keep by Carrie Silver-Stock to help you see what type of secret keeper you are:

“Read each of the scenarios below. Which one sounds like you most of the time? You might

change from time to time, but most likely you will identify with one of these the most.

• You share your secrets with the wrong people. You always seem to tell

the wrong friend, who then blurts your most private issues, exposing

you to several or hundreds of people. This really hurts!

• You keep up a perfect image when things are really falling apart. So

many girls fall into this trap of trying to be perfect. Many girls are

naturally people pleasers, but it’s not easy to live a lie. Outwardly you

look like you have it all together, but really you are dealing with a lot

of pain. This was the kind of secret keeper I usually was. I was so

afraid to tell people about my insecurities, my hatred of myself, my

feelings of depression and suicide. Keeping these secrets only

prolonged the problems and made them worse.

• You totally fall apart but deny anything is wrong. Your secrets have

almost ruined your life. At this point, you’re engaging in self-destructive

behaviours. It might be drinking, cutting, suicidal thoughts,

not eating, or binge eating, just to name a few. Whatever it is, people

can tell something is wrong, but when they confront you, you continue

to deny anything is wrong.

• You find the right friend and adult to tell. You realize no one is perfect

and everyone makes mistakes and goes through stuff, so you go to

your friend and she helps you talk to an adult you trust. This might

seem like the hardest secret keeper to be, but we all need to try to be

more like this. If we could learn to tell our secrets to the right people,

we could deal with the stuff that is holding us back from living our

best life.

Now that you know your secret-keeping profile, you can do something

about your secrets if you need to. If you’re feeling stuck, or feeling like you

want to hold tight to your secrets, that’s okay for now.” The answers will come. To help you find these answers I will share a secret…

Seven Tips every teen girl needs to know when dealing with challenges:

· Tip One: Use your Gut. Our gut refers to our intuition or the little voice inside of us that protects and guides us. I have found myself in hot water more than once when I neglected to listen to my gut as a teenager and I never understood the importance of my gut until a while later. Our gut is important as it helps us to make choices that’s in line with who we are. Sometimes we neglect listening to our gut, because we allow ourselves to be led by things that is not really us. When in doubt ask yourself: Is this really what I want? Am I 100% sure? When in doubt leave it out!

· Tip Two: Discover your strengths and use them. Strengths come in all shapes and sizes be they emotional, social, physical, or psychological. A lot of times girls don’t capitalise on their strengths, because they haven’t been taught to look for them or sometimes feel embarrassed to claim bragging rights. Whatever, the reason, not using or knowing your strengths can have devastating consequences. In order to find and home in on your strengths. The Three Good People Exercise is a good place to start:

· Tip Three: Choose the right friends and respect them. Friends are a very important part of our lives. Whether you feel you have no real friends or too many friends, friends are the ones that support us, lift us up, cry and laugh with us and play a big role in our everyday lives. However, the number of friends are irrelevant if you haven’t picked the right ones. Many of us get caught up with the wrong friends for different reasons. Perhaps they were right for us at first, but now one or both of you have changed. Or perhaps you are still friends and feel that you will be forever. To make sure you surround yourself with true valuable friends ask yourself: Are your friends there for you no matter what? Are your friends moving in the same life direction as you? Do your friends share your values?

· Tip Four: Be courageous and confident The two C’s Courage and Confidence are two factors many girls and even woman struggle with most of the time. As girls and women, we often allow our inner critic to take over and we easily listen to the harsh critic of others. This is because we all want to be accepted, be liked, and fit in with others. Consequently, we make ourselves smaller, we take fewer calculated risks, we talk with little voices, we miss out on opportunities that within our grasp. A lot of us stay stuck here, fail to try new things and ultimately stop believing in ourselves and who we are. It is important to remember that if you need to make yourself small to fit in somewhere, maybe it is not where you are meant to be. Sometimes finding your tribe is hard, however they are out there. In the meantime, be your own best friend. Others can only love you more if you love yourself, even if that means breaking the mould.

· Tip Five: Be fit and stay fit This refers to all levels: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Stay fit holistically not only helps us live longer, but also helps maintain our overall happiness. Most importantly, staying and maintaining fitness on all levels can get us through stress in our daily lives. There isn’t a teenage girl out there that does not experience stress, depending on their personal circumstances and coping skills. Some examples are taking tests at school, overcoming issues with parents, managing friendship problems, dealing with love interests, or dealing with huge changes such as a move to a different city or country. Remember getting and staying holistically fit takes the right tool and plenty of practise. If you find yourself struggling to cope or adapt to the changes in life it might be a good idea to seek some counselling to add some healthy coping skills and ‘get fit’ skills to your toolbox.

· Tip Six: Dream Big! Dream Big might sound like a cliché or like something we read on the back of a sugar packet, however those words mean more than meets the eye. As mentioned with tip four and the two C’s, it is important not to make ourselves smaller to fit in. The same goes with our dreams. The only way we can grow and become better is by dreaming bigger and wanting more for ourselves. We are not in competition with anyone, we should only strive to be a better version of ourselves than the one of yesterday. Reaching big dreams and goals start with small steps, persistence and perseverance. It is helpful to make something like a vision board and plan to reach your dreams one step at a time.

· Tip Seven: Get outside of yourself Getting outside does not mean to lose touch with yourself. On the contrary it means to use the special skills, talents, and strengths you must reach out to others and help where you can, be it volunteering or simply paying it forward. It also means to see ourselves from our loved one’s point of view by e.g., laughing at ourselves and seeing the silly side of life.

Homework: The proof is in the pudding

Put the above tips and suggestions to work and let us know what worked for you. Perhaps you have more tips and tricks that can help other girls like you. Some secrets are good to share.

Use #thecatsoutofthebag and tag @museandminds to share some of your winning tips!

If you have any questions or would like to chat, find me on social media at: @MuseandMinds on Facebook and Instagram.

To reach out privately you are welcome to message me at: or WhatsApp me at: 063 243 2642.

The book Secrets Girls Keep by Carrie Silver-Stock helped me a great deal in writing this article. Have a look at it for further tips and reading!


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