We often hide our inner thoughts and feelings because we’re concerned if they’ll be accepted by other people. But we also shut out other people from knowing and accepting us by not being open. By not being open with others, we’re really saying we don’t fully accept ourselves. We’re denying ourselves that chance to speak out, to declare our inner thoughts and feelings.
It’s up to you to decide just how you’re going to talk about yourself and what you’re going to say. Telling somebody where you bought that new pair of shoes might be one way of being open. However, it might be more meaningful to share why clothes are important to you.
You have the power to change things by being open and sharing things. Keep in mind also that being completely open with everyone in every situation may be very inappropriate. You may want to be more open with your spouse or close friends, but not with your boss or people you don’t know as well. You may choose not to be open with people you don’t fully trust because to be open is to share vulnerable information about yourself. And if you don’t fully trust how someone else will use that information about you, you may choose not to share it. Also, some people may be very uncomfortable with too much openness and you may not want to be as open with them.
Openness is making your outer world as similar to your inner world as possible. When you’re feeling jealous, happy, anxious or sad why not share with other people what you’re really feeling. We call this being congruent. That is letting what shows, your expression, frown, words represent what you actually feel and think. That takes hard work and a lot of honesty. (Again a reminder of caution about being open and sometimes being too open. In the name of being open we say everything we feel or think to others, but fail to be sensitive to others feelings about our openness. We may make them feel very uncomfortable or say something that hurts them. Being open also carries a responsibility with it and that is to be aware of others reactions to us and to respect their reactions. This may mean not disclosing everything with some people out of respect for their feelings.