How to pretend less and share more
How many times do you find it easier to pretend everything is ok, instead of being honest about how you are feeling with the people around you?
I am talking about those times when you are frustrated, stressed or anxious about work, but reply “I am fine” when a colleague asks you how you are doing.
I am talking about those times when you are worried about something, but prefer lying a little bit to your family, to avoid them getting worried for you.
I am talking about those times when you have a massive fight with our partner just before a dinner with friends, but put on a smile and talk about holiday destinations like nothing happened.
In the past year, I have decided to pretend less and share more, and have been practicing being more honest about how I feel with the people around me. It has been one of the most difficult things I have ever challenged myself to do. I was very scared of being judged, misunderstood or perceived as weak, and of choosing the wrong people to open up with. I trusted my instincts and almost always made the right call (when I didn’t, I still learnt who are the people worth having in my life). It wasn’t always easy, but I got so much in return, and I hope that by sharing my experience, I will inspire you to do the same.
Here is what happens when you stop pretending and start sharing (with the right person):
1. You feel a bit better right away
Sharing the positive is so much easier than sharing the negatives, but it doesn’t have the same cathartic power. When you have the courage to say out loud things like “I don’t know what I am doing”, “I am scared”, “I feel lost”, “I have been crying lately”, you are instantly taking some weight off your shoulder, and feel the relief of letting go. You are laying the foundation for accepting your feelings.
2. You feel validated
We all struggle or have struggled at some point in our lives. When you open up with someone about something that is affecting or bothering you, even if they can’t understand or can’t personally relate to what you are going through, they can respond to your emotional state with empathy. By simply saying (or showing a facial expression saying) “I am sorry to hear this” or “I feel for you”, the other person is in fact recognising your emotions, and you feel validated, allowed to experience them. You are now making the first step towards easing your feeling.
3. You get emotional support
We might tend to think that when we don’t feel ok, the only thing that can make us feel better is finding a practical solution to our problems. Unfortunately, there is no switch to turn off negative emotions. However, there is a way to alleviate them, that can make a big difference in how you feel. When the person in front of you is listening and showing they care about your feelings, when you know you can count on someone else, you get a special comfort. This is the emotional support that comes from empathy, compassion, and genuine concern, and constitute the vital component of a new, deeper connection.
4. You establish meaningful relationships
Whether you are sharing with a friend or someone who is still an acquaintance to you, by being honest about yourself, you are letting them knowing you better, and by trusting them in peeking into your soul, you are connecting with them on a deeper level. You are trusting someone else completely and establishing with them an authentic relationship. This means they might feel inspired, confident and safe enough to do the same with you.
5. You can give back
Now that you have discovered the powerful effects of sharing your feelings with someone you trust, there is nothing more rewarding than offering your support back, and be there for them when they need.
Want to give it a try? Get in touch if you need some inspiration or support 💞