Written by: Naim Jutha // @naimjutha
Since I was born, I’ve been taught that sharing is caring. My toys, my clothes and yes, my food too :(. Sharing in this context made sense because if someone was in need, why wouldn’t I help them? It’s human nature, or at least I like to think it is.
One thing I neglect to share are my thoughts, feelings and anything to do with me really. If you asked anybody I’m close to, they’d definitely say I’m a pretty private person. It’s easier that way, for me at least. If I changed my mind about something, only I would know. If I opened up to someone, maybe they’d start to see me in a different light. If I share my problems with others, they may feel uncomfortable sharing theirs with me because “I already have too much on my plate”. In addition to all these paranoias, my silence is mostly motivated by the barrier to vulnerability. I feel like I’m not alone on this one; society’s trained us pretty well to not put ourselves in vulnerable situations. Many of us have learned that painful lesson of opening our hearts and exposing our fragilities, only to have our hearts broken and weaknesses ridiculed. We’ve essentially been taught to protect our hearts and feelings and what better way to do that than building a wall.
So, I’m at a point now where silence may no longer be the answer. I first approached my tipping point in my senior years of University where I really noticed the effects of bottling up all these unspoken thoughts. The ridiculous amounts of stress from multiple sources was bad enough, but having to hide them behind my awkward smile pushed me into a breakdown. Luckily my best friend was with me when it happened and she did everything she could to bring me to peace. It wasn’t working. Tears, shaking and a few more tears. To this day, I still cannot put into words what I was feeling in that moment or figure out how I lost total control of my emotions. She made the incredible decision to bring me to the U-Waterloo Campus Psychiatrist because god knows what would’ve happened to me if she didn’t. So there I was, face to face with a complete stranger. I didn’t know anything about the Doctor and vice-versa. There wasn’t much to talk about so the Doctor made me talk about me… sigh. Somehow I did. I broke down my wall and just let everything out. This was the first time I spoke to someone with complete transparency and said exactly what I was feeling in a really really long time. The feeling of blind trust and being completely honest is something I totally forgot how to feel, but it’s a feeling I wanted to continue to feel. With continued practice and multiple disappointing interactions, I learned (well, still learning) to appreciate the personal benefits of sharing.
The fear of vulnerability still exists which is inevitable, but it is that same vulnerability and feeling of being able to trust someone that relieves ridiculous amounts of weight off my shoulders. I also find that when I share what I’m going through, my mind opens up space to find the voices of reason, rationality and acceptance. To me, that’s the power of sharing. As I continue to share, the more I get to know me. The more I get to know me, the more comfortable I get with my thoughts and feelings.
So, do the words, “sharing is caring” still apply to this version of sharing? Most certainly, absolutely, unequivocally yes. It’s the act of caring about me. Taking care of me. This was another thing I didn’t realize until pretty recently. It’s pretty important to make sure I’m okay. Here’s why:
In a previous blog post, I shared with you my mission statement, which is: To help people in need and do anything I can to empower, encourage & inspire others to help and work with each other.
In order to help people in need, I need to be in a physical, mental and psychological state to be OF help. In order to inspire others, I need to exhibit strength and confidence in order to convey the messages I want to send with conviction. I am starting to realize that if I'm not the best version of me, I wouldn’t be able to do all these things that mean so much to me. I wouldn’t be able to pursue my purpose. Solution: Look after Naim.Full disclosure, was it easy to open up? Nope. Was it easy to trust someone after having negative experiences in the past? Eek, not really. Would I recommend you give up and just keep to yourself? Hell. No. In my experience, sharing is definitely one of the most valuable things out of all of the things.
“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow” -Unknown.