Talking about your feelings is difficult. We believe it’s because most people have been burnt in the past before. You may have shared things about yourself that have been used to hurt you in school, with our parents or past relationships.
Finding trustworthy people to talk to is a part of the puzzle, but even when you’ve found them, or the situation calls for it, it’s hard to open up. We’re certainly not encouraging you to start breaking out the childhood traumas after a handshake, but why it’s a good thing to speak up when you’re uncomfortable and talk about what’s going on in your head and heart.
Conversations don’t get vulnerable very often, and we hope you find power in sharing rather than feeling like you have to bite your tongue.
Here are some of reasons why we think you should talk about your feelings. Major disclaimer - we aren't mental health professionals, and all our stories are anecdotal:
It’ll get you closer to an outcome or situation you wanted
Pretending like you’re ok with something when you’re not is like intentionally making yourself uncomfortable. Even if you have no choice but to go through with it, voicing your discomfort will have people being more mindful.
Others also assume that you want the outcome too, and aren’t thinking about how it might impact you. That’s because people apparently spend 95% of the time thinking about themselves (us included!). They may be more open to change to suit you than you think.
It makes you seem real
Like an onion or ogre, it gives more depth to yourself when you start showing your layers. Sharing your stories and opinions can let others understand you, relate to you, and talk to you about shared experiences.
In the age of social media, we’ve also seen how influencers and celebrities who open up about their feelings are praised as real and relatable. However, most of them will share to the public after the story has already ended, e.g. they share what didn’t work after the breakup, and not during - so make sure you’re comfortable with who’s listening if you’re still in the middle of your story.
No one’s life is perfect - they’re just not showing it to you.
It’s hard for others to question it, or talk on behalf of you
We find it super annoying when people talk on behalf of us and say we're fine with something when we aren't. Although a pretty hardcore quote, there's a saying from Zora Neale Hurston:
"if you're silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it."
It’s hard for others to talk for you, or try to read between the lines when you offer what you’re willing to share on a platter.
Being honest with your feelings in relationships can also help limit miscommunications, misunderstandings and games.
Limits emotional outbursts
We've found that like a balloon, we can ignore our feelings until they pop all over someone or an irrelevant situation, or you can let it out little by little or in the right context. If you find yourself crying out of nowhere, taking it out on other people and feeling overwhelmed, it may be because your emotions don’t have an outlet.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to other people just yet, write it down! Raging it out in a journal a few times a week is also helpful. You might see things clearer when you have to put your feelings into words.
Good practise for later
Sharing smaller things about yourself makes it easier to open up about larger and deeper things in life that are bothering you later. Seeing the reaction to smaller disclosures will also help you suss out who you enjoy discussing your feelings with.
It will also help practise boundary setting by getting used to the feeling of sharing things that you want to and things that you don’t, and saying exactly what you want to say.
Encourage your friends in opening up
Not only is confiding in your friends good for you, but it’s good for them to see too.
We hope that when our loved ones are struggling, that they will talk to us. That can’t happen until there is trust. Seeing that you trust them and have talked about deep topics before, will help them feel more confident in sharing as well.
You might find someone who understands exactly what you’re going through
When we talk about our feelings and situation, validation feels so sweet when someone understands what we're going through.
Toxic family members, workplace bullying, relationship troubles, money problems, depression and anxiety are topics that we've found many people have experienced. They may even have solutions and tips for the situation that they've found worked.
It will bring you closer to your friends
Having someone’s trust is a privilege, and being in someone’s inner circle is an honour. Friends should be touched that you trust them with personal stories.
Go with your gut - if you distrust or are unsure of a friend, or if they've given you reason to suspect they don't have your privacy at heart - don't force it, and keep that side eye on.
You’ll find out more about yourself
Getting down to the root of why you feel a certain way can be eye-opening to things that you didn’t know were still affecting you.
If you’ve ever been to a therapist, they often try to link events in your childhood that have formed your headspace. Understanding where it comes from can feel like a revelation.
It’ll make you feel better
Letting go of some of your worries, fears, anger, hurt and stress as it’ll make yourself feel better is our number one reason, and should be yours too!
You know how good it feels after going on an angry rant or a massive cry. Do it for yourself, do it to heal, do it because it’ll make you feel better.
We hope that when you share, it’s met with validation and loyalty, and that you have nothing to fear - that you are in control of what you’re sharing, why you’re sharing and what will happen. And in that vulnerability, you’ll feel strong.