What you see is what you get

I would love to write funny and ironic blogs like Russell Grenning and Fran Spears but somehow, even though I laugh a lot, my blogs always tend to be a bit didactic – Russell that’s intellectual speak for ‘intending to teach a moral lesson’ mainly to myself. So here we go again.

What does it mean to be too open?

Recently I have been told that I am too open and it is causing me to reflect. As a young girl living in a household fraught with abuse, I was not at all open about what was going on in my family. I wanted people to believe that all was well and sometimes I would fantasise about how I would like it to be. If I spoke about my family life at all it was in glowing terms. The fun we had, the exciting times we spent together. I was at great pains to never betray the image I wanted others to believe.

When did it all change? When did my urge to keep my private life just that — utterly private — change to becoming ‘too open’? Maybe it began at teachers’ college when my friend was kicked out of her accommodation and begged to come and stay with me. I made all kinds of excuses but having heard my version of my amazing family, she was adamant that she would love to spend at least a few nights at my home. I hoped that we could at least exhibit a semblance of normal life for just a few days, but sadly it didn’t happen that way and some of the ugliness of my existence was exposed. The friendship I had cherished became lost in embarrassment and betrayal.

I am sure that ‘shame’ causes so many of us to keep our lives secret and abuse is allowed to flourish. Yet I am still unable to pinpoint the moment when I lost my sense of shame and became ‘too open’. I remember someone accusing me of not knowing my boundaries and possibly she was right, but whilst there are those who choose to remain extremely private about their lives, I have become more open. In most cases this has enabled an easier communication with clients and I can also see how it could be threatening to others.

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I wrote my book for the simple reason that I was witnessing others who were struggling to emerge from the pain of their past and I felt that I could maybe assist with strategies that had helped me. As a young woman, I could never have dreamed of reaching the stage where I was confident that my past was not going to define my future. Stepping into my authenticity has been one of the biggest thrills of my life, yet sometimes I recognise that I need to put the brakes on. I was asked why I felt I needed to be so open in my book. I make no apologies for that as I felt gilding the lily would not be helpful to others. Now I have been encouraged to write a sequel, I find myself facing the same dilemma and am grateful for a good editor to assist me to know where to draw the line.

I believe everything happens for a reason and there have been several recent experiences that are causing me to reflect on the way I am perceived. Making time to go inward has been a valuable experience and I have meditated and reflected on ways I can improve. I am learning to not only have more compassion for others but also for myself. I will continue to be true to myself in my openness but also be more astute about boundaries. It is a humbling experience but also exhilarating, knowing that we never stop learning. As a late bloomer I absolutely love learning and always believe that the best is yet to be.

Oh darn it – I have probably been too open about being too open.

Would you consider yourself to be ‘too open’ or do you prefer to keep to yourself? Share your thoughts with us.

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