There are two different lives each of us leads.
One is the public life. It’s the one we present to the world and the one we show up in at parties. It’s the one where we throw around our off the cuff humor, where we act a certain way because that’s what’s expected of us and where we say “fine” or “good” as default when somebody asks how we are.
The other is our private life. It’s the one we cover up with jokes, makeup and confidence. It’s where we store the things that make us lay awake in bed at night; the things that make us smoke, drink, or do drugs; the things that make us not want to call our parents on Christmas and the things that make us cry.
Rarely do the two cross, out of either fear on our part, or because we think that if the private life is revealed, it’ll be catastrophic to the mask of the public life that we’ve worn for such a damn long time.
Recently, a friend opened up to me about her bipolar disorder. She told me about her sickness with the world, about her straight up inability to cope anymore and about the days she’s spent in bed just wishing there was nothing left.
As you can imagine, as someone who’s shared with the world that they have a serious mental illness. Schizophrenia in my case. I’m privy to the deep mental recesses of a lot of people that have opened up to me simply because I’m open about my illness. Some are people I’m not particularly close to but have laid out their entire life story and mental history simply because I told them I write about schizophrenia.
It’s a blessing at times to know that there are so many people out there who have struggled with their emotions, but a lot of the time I want to stay private so I simply say I’m a writer for an online twenty-something blog.
The point I’m trying to make though, is that once you open up to someone about some stuff that isn’t conventionally talked about, there’s an instant trust that’s established. They’ll feel safe around you because they know that you’re a real person with a vast range of emotions.
After that trust is established you’ll have a friend for life whether you like it or not.
It’s hard to open up though. It’s incredibly hard to be vulnerable because you’re taking the risk that whatever it is that bothers you. The person you’re telling will use it against you.
You’re worried that said person will go and tell other people and make fun of you and your reputation (whatever that is) will be ruined. The biggest reason that it’s hard to vulnerable though is because it’ll hurt if whoever you’re telling doesn’t accept it.
Our personalities are tied up in the things that we feel so to tell someone how you feel and to have them reject it essentially means that they are rejecting you.
I’ve written on rejection before and the point to remember with that is that if it happens it’s not a big deal because the person doing it doesn’t realize or is too close minded to accept the deep and rich wealth of experience and feeling that makes up you as a person. Basically, they’re an asshole and you’re better off without them if they take advantage of you like that.
You are good. No matter what’s going on in your head, no matter what’s kept behind closed doors and no matter what the bullies in high school said, You are good, you are awesome, and no matter what happens you’re worth being loved.
It’s worth noting though, that to be able to open up and vulnerable, a level of trust should already be in place. The problem is that we’re still scared to do it even if that trust is there.
If you do decide to open up though, There’s a pretty good chance your friends will accept it. They may not know what to say when you tell them whatever’s on your mind but as long as you’re still you, which you will be, they’ll love you no matter what.
They may even reciprocate and open up to you about something.
People want to relate to something and everybody feels sad or fucked up about stuff sometimes. It’s part of life.