Sharing doesn’t come easy for most people. Watch a group of toddlers and it will make you think that the human condition is hardwired to not share. I love the scene in “Finding Nemo” where the pelicans all say “mine, mine, mine!” Yes indeed, sharing our possessions is challenging. You know what’s even harder? Sharing our hopes, goals, dreams, fears, insecurities and weaknesses. Yeah, those are real tough ones to let other people in on.
I believe the reason we have so much trouble with authentic transparency is not because there isn’t an innate need in our souls to know and be known by another person, there is. The reason we don’t share is because we’ve been burned by people in the past. Having another person with whom you can say anything to and not have them judge you is an incredible gift. I think many people do not have that nowadays. In some religious circles there is a lot of sweeping the personal challenges under the rug so everything looks perfect.
A lot of us have opened up our hearts to someone, only to sadly regret it later. We have been real and vulnerable, then had the other person use the information we shared or our love for them against us. So we clam up and stop saying as much or saying anything with substance to those around us. That begins the process of emotional isolation and it’s a slippery slope from there into social loneliness. We might still physically be around people but they only get the billboard version of our lives; that we have constructed to show the world.
How do we heal if we have lingering hurts from trust gone bad in the past? We pick better next time. We look for character qualities in those around us that would make for a special confidante. Then we take the small gradual steps to share more of our real selves.
Keep your eyes open around you too; perhaps you could be that person for someone else. We are not meant to live in emotional isolation but we do have to use a lot of wisdom when we decide to share.