There’s quite the spectrum between guardedness and oversharing. Many people struggle with that catch-22 of “I need to feel trust in order to be vulnerable, and I need to be vulnerable in order to truly trust.” Brene Brown speaks in profound and relevant ways about this issue of vulnerability in her book, “Daring Greatly”. Many people struggle with being too guarded in relationships, which leads to feeling unknown, hidden, distant, isolated, and disconnected. Her main point is to fight off this guardedness by directly addressing that “I’m not enough” whisper called Shame. I struggled with how to write about what I learned from this book because, frankly, there is gold on every page, and it’s very much worth the read.
One aspect of her book that I found interesting and helpful for some people that I thought I would share with you is the topic of Oversharing. Mutual vulnerability increases trust and connection. When two people are engaging in an authentic, open conversation, they are developing their relationship and building a foundation for more depth and closeness. Sharing, with boundaries, means developing relationships that can bear the weight of our story.
When a person, however, does not have good boundaries and a foundation with someone, and they jump to sharing too much too fast, it causes the other person to disconnect. Brene Brown calls it a misuse of vulnerability, a “smash and grab” to get temporary energy, attention, or communicate our woundedness. She states, “We don’t lead with ‘Hi, my name is Brene, and here’s my darkest struggle.” People with poor boundaries might not know how to truly connect with others, and they will use this disconnection that happens as a verification that they are not worthy, relationships are not worth it, or that they’ll never have the intimacy they are craving. “It’s rare that we’re able to stay attuned when someone’s oversharing has stretched us past our connectivity with them.”
She encourages people to build self-awareness around sharing. “What need is driving this behavior?” and “Am I trying to reach, hurt, or connect with someone specifically, and is this the right way to do it?”
Brown suggests asking yourself these questions when sharing something about yourself:
Why am I sharing this?
What outcome am I hoping for?
What emotions am I experiencing?
Do my intentions align with my values?
Is there an outcome, response, or lack of a response that will hurt my feelings?
Is this sharing in the service of connection?
Am I genuinely asking the people in my life for what I need?
“When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety net below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.”
Resource: “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown