Have you ever felt so alone that you think no one in the world understands you? Do you find it difficult to share personal information with others?
Believe it or not, there is a link between the willingness to share your story and your mental health. However, more women find self-disclosure challenging than you might think.
Although the media and Hollywood portray some women as ‘drama queens’ and ‘open books’, the truth is that many women suffer in silence. Making sense out of our complicated emotional realities often begins with the willingness to “self-disclose” or, in other words, reveal our personal stories. Each one of us has the power to decide with whom, where, when, and how to open up.
Sharing your stories may make you feel vulnerable, but in most instances the opportunity outweighs the risk. Self-disclosure helps alleviate suffering, even though it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. The ability to self-disclose teaches us that, although our life journey is unique, we all share the universality of the human condition.
Preparing to Share with Others:
Before you launch head-on into telling the details of your story or aspects of your story, realize that difficult feelings may arise when you unearth your personal history. Learning specific strategies for dealing with uncomfortable moments and discovering effective modes of expression make the process of sharing, manageable and gratifying.
Practicing abdominal breathing or a simple mindfulness technique can help to prepare the mind and body for whatever arises once you share your innermost thoughts and experiences with someone else.
The benefits of sharing your stories cannot be underestimated. When you self-disclose, you stand to build a connection with others, strengthen your self-esteem, relieve personal stress and tension, gain validation, keep the flow of communication open and most importantly feel valued and understood.
More on the benefits of sharing stories and identifying valuable confidants, coming soon in Part 2.