Category - Self-confidence

Why Being Open About Your Struggles is Healthy For You

It’s easy to live life projecting the image that things are perfect all the time. We can live behind walls, letting our social media profiles tell the story of a trouble free, airbrushed life full of perpetual rainbows and sunshine. It is much harder to live life openly and transparently, being vulnerable to those around you. While there will always be some things in our lives that we don’t need the whole world to know, there are certain times where sharing your reality and being vulnerable – despite how scary and hard it might be – can reap benefits. Benefit 1: You Find Your Support System There are so many messy parts of life that we don’t talk about, for fear of judgement, rejection, or embarrassment. However, the reality is that there are countless other people going through similar experiences, and probably some within your own social circle that you don’t even know about. Being open about a challenge or situation you are living might help connect you with other individuals going through the same thing. I am encouraged by the fact that in the last few years, people have been more open about challenges related to what were once seen as off-limit subjects, like miscarriage, mental health, divorce, parenting, addiction, and more. I mean, what is the #MeToo movement if not a bunch of brave women being vulnerable about sexual abuse? I have had multiple friends suffer through miscarriage in silence, feeling isolated, only to discover through a brave post that they had a friend who experienced the same. It’s not until we start to air a bit of our dirty laundry that we discover we are not alone, and that there are other people out there that we can glean insight, comfort, and strength from. A friend of mine currently struggling with personal issues was recently connected with a peer that has lived through strikingly similar circumstances. After opening up to this new confidant she told me, “There was such a sense of relief in talking to her. She articulated the same exact sentiments I have been feeling. It made me feel like I’m not crazy or alone at all.” Vulnerability is particularly hard for this friend but taking that chance and opening up delivered her a peace and comfort that she may not have found otherwise. Benefit 2: You Can Support Others Just as hearing about others’ challenges can provide a comfort to you, you may also have the opportunity to be a shining beacon of hope or comfort for another. A few months ago, after much deliberation, I opened up about my struggles to conceive and shared ways that I try to focus on infertility’s silver lining. While I was a bit scared to share my journey, all those fears were assuaged by the number of people that reached out to me after its posting. Many of those people provided me hope, sharing that they had lived through infertility and were now happily parents, but many of those people were also friends seeking comfort from me as they also struggled with infertility in silence. Not only did I find myself a new support community, but I was also provided a sense of purpose and fulfillment to help others focus on the positive of an otherwise crappy situation. Benefit 3: You Gain Perspective One risk of constantly seeing idealized and artificial social media personas, especially to those that are currently struggling, is that it can breed a “grass is greener” mentality. When you are feeling alone in a circumstance, seeing all those glossy photos on Facebook and Instagram can make you feel even more isolated. It’s hard to remember that people share the parts of their lives they want you to see, but they have an ugly behind the scenes as well. Thus, when people start to publicly share the reality of their struggles, it can put your situation in perspective. You’re not the hot mess you felt you were, and their life isn’t as perfect as you thought it was. They are going through some tough stuff too. This shift in thinking can help you focus more positively on your own situation and diminish the feelings of isolation. Find what feels right for you While it’s easy for me to encourage others to open up, I recognize that this comes more painlessly to some than others.  Good, bad or indifferent, I’ve always been the kid that’s worn their emotions on their sleeve, but I know that isn’t natural or easy for everyone. Thus, find a balance that feels comfortable for you. You don’t have to share your truth on social media to reap these benefits. Rather, seeking out a counselor specializing in your situation, confiding in a close friend, or joining a support group can bring the same comfort and hope. Just remember that no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone and help may be just an outburst away. Connect with us on Facebook!

Letting Go of Perfect

With the ringing in of the New Year, many of us start thinking about New Year’s resolutions...