An article I wrote recently on my decision to begin taking anti-anxiety medication struck a chord with friends, family members, and strangers. Since publishing the article, I’ve had several meaningful conversations, more than one of which began with this prompt:
Why are you comfortable sharing so much?
The implications attached to this inquiry are apparent: You’re sharing more than most people. Why? Aren’t you worried about being judged? About losing a friend? Or your job? Or what if those closest to you begin treating you differently?
Let’s address each of those by looking at the three reasons you should be sharing your intimate details of life.
1: It’s real. It’s honest. It’s you.
When you share information about yourself, you’re allowing your readers to form a more accurate opinion of who you are. And while your blog should not be your personal journal, it’s great to sprinkle in personal anecdotes for a broader purpose. It makes you appear human, which I assume you are.
2: It helps others.
Writing about something difficult isn’t just about overcoming your fear and self-consciousness. It helps your readers relate to you. You’d be surprised how many people will be able to relate to that difficult thing you’re facing. It’s up to you to be the brave one and start the conversation!
3: It’s a “good human” filter.
People are judgy. People can be dicks. And while disagreement is okay and you should hear others’ out, it’s not always worth it. If you’re being judged or mocked for being who you are, for doing something that’s totally human, you should leave those people behind, no matter who they are. And rest assured that the positive feedback will emerge and you’ll eventually find those people you should be interacting with.
Will you be negatively judged? Maybe.
Will you lose your job? Probably not if the thing you’re writing about isn’t illegal or in violation of company rules.
Will others treat you with pity? Not if you don’t write like you’re looking for it.
Will some be condescending, judgy, and mean? Yes. And that makes it nice and easy to choose whom to remove from your life.
A quick word of caution
Before closing, I feel I should make a quick note on subject matter.
I don’t think every detail of life is worthwhile to share. It’s important to consider why you’re sharing – what will it do for you and how will it help your readers.
If your experimental sex position failed miserably, or you forgot to take your phone out of your back pocket and it fell into the giant poop you just made, or you secretly want your cat to just die already, maybe the world doesn’t need to know about those stories. (My podcast would love to hear about them.). But outside of for comedic effect, some stories don’t need to be shared. Sometimes talking about something with someone close to you can be good enough. And that’s OK.
I also encourage you to consider the ethics, morality, and legality behind what you’re writing and whether there’s a meaningful story to tell. Telling a story about how you used to be a drug dealer and how you got out of it is great, if told appropriately. Talking about your current drug dealings could get you arrested.
But if it’s just a little different, something that’s part of being human and you want to share it, share it. It could be your journey through furry fandom, your affinity for napkins, or being part of a successful, open marriage. These could all be good stories.
You have a story to tell. Share it!