A listening ear. A comforting pat. Agreement. They all sound lovely. Unfortunately, these sentiments are often overcome by our fears of indifference, denial, and criticism. Granted, it’s not without reason. The latter sentiments mentioned do occur. Confronting the reality of possible indifference, denial, and criticism attaches a fear to opening up. Personal disclosure becomes the thing we are weary of, but desire to do—ultimately, we all want to be understood.
Personal disclosure is to openly express who you are. You could be confirming your particular traits, or explaining your uncertain feelings. You are speaking of yourself, which is a form of intimacy.
A fear of intimacy is often accompanied by anxiety and overthinking. People are worried about what others might think, or if what they say will be used against them one day. To add on, a bump in the road comes when people are not comfortable with themselves, or are very controlling of their external image. Not having confidence in personal disclosure, therefore, gives way to feelings of loneliness.
We feel relief after letting out our concerns and discussing our troubles. Most times, we are not looking for answers, but would like someone to listen and take our perspective into consideration. Not every disclosure is a dark secret—you could be discussing something as seemingly insignificant as a mere quirk of yours. Some people find difficulty in opening up about even the smaller issues, though. We need to get past that barrier.
Take a step towards revealing a bit of yourself to someone else, someone you possibly trust. You don’t trust anyone? Try to. Of course, there are details we keep to ourselves, but try to open up to someone. One reason we are misunderstood is because we are not communicating. Once you allow someone to know you better, it may create a wonderful bond. Even small talk can be part of personal disclosure. You can use little facts about yourself to keep the conversation going. Small talk may also help to lighten your mood. Consider this:
"People should talk to others every day, even if it's small talk. Otherwise their hearts will grow dark and serious. Talking to others builds bonds, and makes you feel grateful that you're alive. That's the kind of creatures we humans are." - Jiraya from Naruto
It’s good to have a nice conversation or discussion. You need to release your curiosities, your concerns, and your discoveries.
Open up bit by bit. Maybe start talking to people about your day, even the simple stories. Even if it's just one story. Test the waters. Reveal something about yourself to another person when you feel like the timing is right. Avoid overthinking. Personal disclosure can relieve a lot of stress! And if someone chooses to open up to you, be a good listener. Opening up is a leap for anyone. Speaking of a leap, that moment would be your chance to open up as well. Do you have to take it? No, but what an excellent opportunity.