Do you describe yourself as strong willed, powerful or assertive? Do you consider yourself a leader, or knowledgeable in your field?
Then why is it that despite how strong we are, sometimes it is so hard for us to open up to others?
To some people, it is an act of defiance or strength. Many people shy away from discussing their issues with others because they do not want to look weak. Or it could be an issue of pride – refusing to talk to others about their problems because they are worried that they will look vulnerable, when they feel that their role should be to always seem strong and confident.
Especially with the latter group of people, this is an unfortunate problem because of course we cannot be strong and powerful all the time. Even those at the proverbial top need to have some reassurance and downtime when they need it. The problem for them is that they are too bottled up with their perception of their role as a leader that they have no way to turn it off when they need help; and when they finally fall, they have the hardest time finding a way to talk.
Some people are just too shy. We either don't want to bother or burden others with our issues, or feel they are too insignificant to raise awareness about. All of these are just mind-crafted insecurities. If anything is ever an issue on your mind, it is of course worth discussion and there is no doubt millions of other people who are thinking the same thing.
Whether you put yourself in column A, B or C, here are a couple of ways to help yourself open up to others.
1. Decide on what the matter is
Before you feel like you need to talk to someone, see what you can discover about yourself first. I know this is a bit unprogressive because usually when people have something bothering them what happens is they in fact think too much and end up wracking their brain to destruction. However that is because your brain on anxiety is like a speeding train that can't stay on the track. If you actually take the time to sit down, write everything out and actually discuss it with yourself, you may come to a few conclusions before you go racing into a social situation with your tragedies.
2. Find someone you absolutely trust to talk to
The main problem with being unable to talk about your issues is simply not having the right person to talk to. Not all of us have a parents nearby we can talk with, or a trustworthy friend who immediately has time for us. But they are they, and it might be someone you would never expect. Sometimes someone we don't know as a good friend appears at the right time, and through a good heart-to-heart ends up becoming a good friend.
Undoubtedly however, you do have a good friend out there somewhere – and it's OK to open up to them. It can even start as easy as explaining to them that you are nervous to talk about something, and go from there. People react positively when they are asked for helped, and if you go to someone while in a state of emotional despairity, they will think that you feel trustworthy of them, and they will reciprocate by giving you their time and attention.
3. Talk to someone anonymous
Anonymous helplines exist for a reason. When we are down and out it takes courage but it often feels much better to talk to someone who you don't even know. It doesn't even mean using a helpline. Perhaps you could talk to someone at work, or an acquaintance that you don't usually connect with. Choose someone who has a good reputation and you think can respect confidentiality. It is refreshing for two people to bond over something unexpected, such as the need for advice.
If calling a helpline seems like a viable solution, remember that you may not get the personal response back that you would from a friend, but you do get the satisfaction of getting something off your chest with full anonymity, and the reply of a completely unbiased 3rd party. It's a hard step to take, but it is there.
4. Be ready to accept assistance
The first step really is accepting that you need some help at all. We are oftentimes so stubborn and short minded that we feel like we have to take on all struggles and responsibilities on our own. The fact is, we don't. We all have our own security needs and circles that can help us sort out our problems – friends, family or acquaintances.
If you open up once it will be easier to do it the next time and again and again. It will help you live your life with comfort and peace of mind, knowing that there are always people out there that can help you. It is an honest way to live and even binds people and develops new friendships. People always bond over feelings – when one person is in need, someone else will be happy to answer the call and be there; it's in our nature.