So, you took the plunge! Ahh! You opened up and shared (more than you normally would). How did it feel?
Like walking straight into the dark and into the unknown??
Kinda scary? Exhilarating? Maybe you’re feeling a swirl of ALL kinds of emotions. Once the thrill of it wears off, that nasty mental loop begins. You know, the wondering, worrying, re-playing it over + over again.
“What do they think? Now that they see more of the real me, will I be judged?”
If you’ve ever shared something really personal, you may have experienced a “vulnerability hangover”– the body aching raw feeling that results from, what feels like, too much intimacy.
After exposing these personal parts of yourself, (we’re not talking about physical private parts, but your emotional secrets), it can feel super awkward! Even if you shared in a close relationship, one built on trust and mutual sharing, it’s understandable to experience some discomfort. If you get the sense that you over-shared (said too much too soon) it can trigger an urge to pull back from the relationship, like you just want to hide under the covers.
You’re wanting to hide, but from what exactly? Why does showing your true self result in so much unease? It’s likely due to the dreaded thoughts, judgments, and opinions… of others. Let’s explore why others’ opinions are so damn powerful!
Humans are naturally social beings and we all have a deep desire to belong, to be accepted and loved for who we really are. A sense of belonging comes from the ability to feel connected and understood in relationships. When it comes to opening up vulnerably, it’s totally normal to care (to some degree) what others think. It shows that a relationship is meaningful to you.
However, the sad truth is, YOU are your harshest judge. It’s a shame that the focus is usually on what others think, when in reality, you’re likely harder on yourself than anyone else would be.
Next time you take the brave leap to be vulnerable and later find yourself worrying about others’ opinions/thoughts/judgments about you, practice these important steps:
- Recognize the mind trick. Unless you have super powers, it’s impossible to read another person’s mind. The impression you wish to make, that image you want to uphold – it’s all imagined. Rest in the fact that there’s no way to ever know what some else thinks of you.
- Redirect your thoughts inward. Notice any self-critical thoughts and approach them with curiosity, compassion + kindness.
- Remind yourself that any discomfort you’re feeling is a typical human response to being emotionally vulnerable, and it will pass.
- Give yourself credit for sharing openly and taking the risk to be more authentic, which takes courage. Practicing open communication and allowing others to see the real you might feel scary at first, but it will deepen + strengthen your relationships over time.
- Become the accepting friend *to yourself* that you’re seeking.
Remember, you have a distinct powerful light to share. Know how very lucky others are to receive it.