“Showing emotional vulnerability may make us fear rejection. But once you become accustomed to doing it, it will become a way of life and will build self-confidence.”
– Maria Arpa, ‘The Heart of Mindful Relationships’
I’m not good at sharing my feelings.
I am one of the most stubborn and guarded people you are ever likely to meet, if we ever have the pleasure of meeting of course. I have gotten through years of friendships without the other person ever knowing anything about my family, how many siblings I have, how many relationships I've had, whether I have a pet or not.
I don’t do it on purpose, I have just never been someone who intentionally shares details of my their life with others. I am more of a listener than a talker. And over the years a lot of my friendships have reflected that.
My month of authenticity in January taught me that I needed to be me more. And I am pleased to say I got better at it.
But I still find it hard to discuss when things aren’t good.
One of my self care commitments to myself this month was to Talk about my Troubles. But boy did I ignore that when I found myself feeling down in the first week of February.
When asked ‘How are you?’ I chose not to lie. I answered, ‘Not great’ or ‘I don’t feel like me today’. But when pressed I wouldn’t divulge any further details.
I didn’t want to explore my feelings of depression and anxiety with anyone else. I would go over and over it in my head; trying to find a reason or rationale for my change in mood. I would psycho-evaluate my own feelings. Play therapist to my own thoughts – And why does it make you feel like that? I’d draw my own conclusions, and then keep them locked inside a compartment of my brain for no one else to see. And it wouldn’t make me feel any better.
My mood never lifted.
It wasn’t until the end of that long, drawn out and miserable week that I finally talked about why I was feeling so anxious and depressed with someone else.
The truth is that we can’t solve all of our problems by ourselves. Sometimes we need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a hug from a best friend.
Try as I might, and I do EVERY TIME, I cannot fix all of my problems by myself. I needed to talk this one out. Find out where I stood, whether I was worrying about nothing without reason, reach a solution rather than just an internal conclusion.
I don’t believe we are meant to go through the highs and lows of life alone. As much as I naturally prefer to keep things bottled up (whether out of fear of rejection, hopes my problems will disappear, embarrassment that I’m not okay, shame because I can’t get better, or whatever other predicator), there are times when we must turn to others and rely on them for a bit of help.
Admitting you are not okay is totally fine. Talking to someone else about exactly how you feel and why you feel that way is also totally fine.
Sure, even Batman had Robin. And they made for quite the dynamic duo.