By Kate Dalton
Is there anything more gratifying than feeling understood by a fellow human?
On the contrary, is there anything worse than feeling that you are completely alone in your thoughts or experiences?
I have long been of the belief that we do others and ourselves a great disservice when we fail to share the truth of “how we are" — how we are feeling and the highs and lows we encounter throughout life.
Certainly, there is a time and a place for sharing, and not all people are the safe or appropriate sounding board for you to discuss your innermost thoughts.
However, when you do find yourself with people who are worthy of your trust, it can be incredibly beneficial and a big sigh of relief for your mind, emotion, and even body when you tell others what is really going on with you.
Nobody has a life that mimics a shiny Instagram feed every day, but we sometimes get that impression. We may think we are the only one in our group of friends, family, or colleagues who is going through a rough time.
It seems like everyone else has the perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect home, or the perfect baby.
But often, when we get beyond superficial interactions and to the heart of the everyday experiences of others, we realize we are not alone. We are not the odd one out.
But to come to that realization, we need people to open up to us and likewise to share our authentic selves with others.
When we pour ourselves out to someone else and are not met with empathy or understanding, it’s an awful feeling. It may cause us to wish we had never spoken up in the first place.
It confirms in our minds that “nobody gets us” and that if only people could walk in our shoes, they could see eye to eye with us.
When we encounter empathy, defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another," it can be life changing.
When we speak to someone and realize we are not alone, that we are not isolated in our feelings and experiences and that another person shares our perspective, it is one of life’s greatest comforts.
I am incredibly blessed to have a close circle of friends I can trust with my thoughts and feelings; whether I feel like I have it together that day or I feel as if my life is falling apart. They listen to me without judgment, without criticism, and without trying to solve everything on the spot.
Furthermore, they point out the good qualities they see in me, they encourage me, they share stories of their similar experiences, they offer ongoing support (and sometimes chocolate which also helps).
So let’s be honest.
When we’re not OK. When we’re not having a good day. When that encounter really did hurt us. When we don’t feel confident. When we don’t feel healthy. When we are scared and vulnerable and unsure. When we need help. When we wonder if anyone else understands.
Simply put, you will never feel known if you don’t let people know.
Kate Dalton believes in the power of investing in people. With a varied background in marketing and communications, Kate has a growth mindset that drives her to continually pursue personal and professional development, hoping to encourage others along the way. Email: [email protected].
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.