For many of us, reaching out to others in moments of celebration and happiness comes easily. We cheerfully share news about receiving a high grade on a difficult test, a promotion at work, or a new baby in our family. But when we're struggling and facing challenges that feel insurmountable, we're suddenly less comfortable sharing. Sometimes we keep our difficulties to ourselves out of embarrassment, and sometimes we avoid talking to others because we think it might burden others. In either case, we deprive ourselves of a powerful source of potential support.
Sharing our successes with others helps us mark accomplishments in our lives and nurtures important relationships. If you do this now, keep it up! Reaching out to also share our weaknesses and failures has the potential to have an equal, if not BIGGER impact. In moments when we feel alone in our unhappiness, feeling understood by another person can be incredibly powerful and can inspire us to be more gentle with ourselves. Knowing that someone else can relate to our struggles and perspectives helps us remember that we are very rarely alone in our experiences - good or bad.
Additionally, discovering that people we care about have had similar experiences can generate new ideas on how to tackle a problem. Chances are, you have more in common with people who've succeeded in similar circumstances than you realize, including experiencing some of the same set backs and challenges.
And while it might not be appropriate to unload your emotional baggage on the cashier who routinely asks about your day =), accepting support from people that you would be eager to help in similar situations can create a closer bond and be a part of healthy, balanced relationships.
Having the courage to acknowledge your imperfections can be liberating and empowering, both for you and the person you're sharing with. No one has it all together all of the time, and letting go of the obligation to act like we do can be a relief in itself. Take a chance today and share the good and the not so good.