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Monday, February 26, 2018

We Don't Have To Share Everything

I'm almost writing this as a bit of a video script, but I think it's also important to have it written down for days where I need a little reminder. It may seem odd for me to say this, considering the level of open conversations and sharing that I do throughout social media, but here's my truth:

We don't always have to talk about everything.

We're currently in an age of social media where everyone is fighting shame and embarrassment (which is great) and sharing their deepest, darkest secrets. While this is a fantastic way to take some weight off of our shoulders and allow others to have a safe space online where they can feel less alone, it can feel a little confusing to know when not to share, and to feel like that's okay.

The nature of the stories I share online are very personal to me, sure, but they're also topics that don't directly harm or distress anyone that's involved in the conversation. Every story I have shared has come from a place of having learned something from the experience. While each story may have some comedic aspects to it, I like to think that something positive can always be taken from the things I choose to share.

Why do we feel bad for not wanting to share? Well, there's a few reasons:

1. We are constantly bombarded with the idea that sharing is good, and that not wanting to share must somehow be related to some inner shame or embarrassment.

2. We feel like sharing is what is expected of us, and we almost feel like we're omitting information from people that could benefit from it.

There are things that I am very happy to share. Funny/embarrassing sex stories, life experiences that I have been through & have overcome, things that most people wouldn't talk about where I feel like I have something *of value to say. And then there are things that, frankly, I simply don't want to share.

* We  can often get in our own heads about the lack of value that our words & experiences may have. I, like any YouTuber, do sometimes feel like I have "no business" talking about certain topics. The way that I measure the true value of my words is personal to me & will be different for every single person.

My choice to not share (or not go into detail on) certain things in my life does not come from inner shame or a lack of courage. It does not mean that I am too weak to talk about something that's difficult to talk about. It doesn't mean that I am selfish and not willing to help others. These are thoughts that I, and I am sure many others, struggle with.

Certain events in my life have been kept for strictly myself and the few therapists I've worked with. Specific insecurities have been shared only with people directly involved. There are things that I have never shared with my family, and thus would not feel comfortable sharing online. That doesn't mean that I would simply like to share those things with them first, it means that I would not like to share those things at all.

It has become very common for people to think that sharing thoughts is proof that you're over it. But is that really true? Can I not be over a negative live event without shouting about my experience online? Must I really share it with the world in order for it to really not weigh me down anymore?

For example, I feel strongly that there are things I will never share with my family. Not because I'm not over it, it's quite the opposite. I feel like I'm so over it that it would be unfair for me to put that on their shoulders. Not sharing certain things is my way of protecting them. While something for me might have happened 10 years ago, it would be fresh information for them. It doesn't hurt me anymore, but it would hurt them as if it happened today. If it doesn't bother me anymore, it can be left unsaid. They don't need to know. They don't need to hurt over it now when I'm not hurting anymore.

At times, I have wanted to share something and stopped myself after I acknowledged that I likely would have nothing more to add to the conversation. Certain topics are too controversial or too sensitive to speak about from only your perception. I confess that I am often afraid of falling in the deep hole that is offending people on the internet. There's nothing shameful about protecting yourself from interactions you don't want.

I have benefited greatly from sharing things online, but it's important to be mindful of when you should not share for the sake of protecting not only yourself, but also the people you care about.

How do you feel about sharing things online? I'd love to discuss this!


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