The Power of Open and Honest Conversation: Sharing Burdens and Building Trust

A lot of times, people are afraid of the painful, unexciting, or less glorious aspects of their existence: those tough moments where they faced difficulties or moments they are not proud of. These are things they wish they never experienced or things they are afraid to admit they do not have going on in their lives.

This desire to be hush about these aspects of their lives burdens them, affecting them and how they relate to others, mostly unconsciously. The thing about these thoughts and feelings, which most people never share with anyone else, is that they are so powerful and can be unconsciously communicated non-verbally to others, affecting the way they perceive us and how they perceive themselves.

Anxiety, mental stress, unexplained sadness: all are consequences of never communicating these deepest thoughts of ours. Therefore, sharing them is immensely beneficial, bringing us to the question of who we should share them with.

That's where trust comes into play. These are your deepest thoughts, and not everyone needs to know them. One person who you can share this with is enough. If you have more than one person, that's an advantage, but just one person is enough.

Do you remember conversations where you felt a certain way or were facing a problem and discussed it with someone, then felt a lot better after they have listened to you, acknowledged your concerns, and made suggestions for you? That's the power of 'one'. One person who you share something with. In deciding who this person would be, it's important to ensure that they are persons you can confide in and who will keep what you share with them in privacy.

Anything short of this, you should not. Most persons who meet this criteria will also confide in you with their deepest thoughts. Unfortunately, the only guarantee you have that someone won't reveal your deepest thoughts to another person is to take their word for it.

We often assume the worst-case scenario, and that's why many of us hold onto these thoughts and rather suffer its negative effect. However, go deeper into that fear and consider what would the worst thing that could happen if the people you may confide in tell someone else about it. Is that fear even necessary? Let's say, for example, you're afraid of speaking in public, it terrifies you, you share it with someone you trust, and they go and tell the whole world you said that. What is the worst outcome of that?

Okay, everyone knows a weakness you have and the aspects of your life you are not so proud, and then so what? Would the world stop? Would people stop living their own individual lives to focus on discussing this "new found" truth about you? Of course not, people have more important things to worry about and people may talk about it for a short while, but everyone moves on eventually. Now, I know the public speaking example is a very light one, there are worse or traumatic things which people may never want to talk about with anyone for fear of "what if".

It's a hard choice. If keeping these thoughts to ourselves really bothers us so much, then confiding in someone and taking the risk of the person proving not trustworthy might be worth it. Keeping the thoughts to oneself is guaranteed to be bad, sharing it with someone we feel is trustworthy might go two ways, but it's the best option because if you don't take the option, the effect of bearing the thought alone is still there, and if you take the option, there is always the possibility that this person respects your private thoughts.

If the person turns out not trustworthy, the second option is still better because you explored the possibility of sharing with a trustworthy person rather than letting the burden trouble you without anyone else knowing. Before you deem anyone trustworthy, you must have tested them in a few ways by sharing some less sensitive information with them and see how well they do keeping your discussions between you. It's also key to see if such persons are willing to share deep thoughts with you as well.

It's a blessing to find one person to be completely and totally honest with. Someone who will never judge you, but listen to you, speak honestly to you, and make you feel heard irrespective of what is going on. Such persons can come in the form of family members, friends, someone we work with, a stranger. It can come from anywhere really, and yes I said stranger there, which could be surprising because a lot of us believe we should never talk to strangers, but recent research has shown that talking to strangers can actually improve our sense of well-being. Before you lecture me on the dangers of that, read the article here.

Understand that if you have a serious burden in your mind affecting your life and everything you do, the risk of talking to a stranger is way less than the damage the burden is doing to you. Why not take all your chances? Of course, apply caution and don't disclose sensitive information about yourself to someone you just met. However, sharing what you feel can open up doors to solutions you never expected and a listening ear is crucial for people weighed down by thoughts they are afraid of sharing. That listening ear mustn't come from sources we are used to or sources we are most comfortable with. It's important to keep in mind that in a world of 8 billion people, chances to find a listening ear abound. It's just that our minds are conditioned to look for it only in certain places.

If you need help, there's a part for you to play. A part where you acknowledge that you really do need help and you talk about it and take action, then get help. A sick person, who never admits they are sick, never talks to anyone about it, and keeps going through life weighed down by the disease is only doing harm to themselves. Doctors might be everywhere, but they have no way of getting to you if you are not looking for a way to get access to them, because they are not aware. It is your duty to raise awareness and open up about what affects you. Not everyone has the ability to read other people's minds and know if they have a problem or not. Not everyone has the time or may care enough to dig deep and get you to open up. That responsibility is primarily yours!

So it all begins with honest and open communication when we are weighed down by anything mentally. That fear you feel about sharing is usually has way less effect than your mind may imagine. Let's commit to having more open and honest conversations, and our world will become so much better as we will understand each other better and support each other for the best.

Communicate honestly and keep winning!

- Ike


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