Opening up and being honest with people can be one of the hardest things you ever master and I am far from a master in it. However, for week 14 I wanted to give it a go. See how scary it was, or how easy it was to do.
We all strive for peer-approval, for people to like and appreciate us. As people, we need to feel cared for but we are also capable of growing. You can’t grow without feedback, whether that is learning from your own mistakes, receiving praise or criticism or asking someone for their honest opinion.
Some of us give our honest opinion whether we are asked for it or not and part of my challenge was to do just that. By honest, I don’t mean negative either, in fact I found I tended to open up and give more positive feedback that may ordinarily be somewhat embarrassing to say.
I complimented people at work, told them a bit more about myself and what I liked about their work, I opened up to friends about what was on my mind, I asked for their honest opinion and gave them mine, I was honest about how I was feeling, rather than the usual, ‘I’m fine’ I gave the full story – whether I’d had a good day, bad day or whether something funny or unusual had happened.
And after all that, I started to feel like my relationships with people got a little bit deeper, friends see a different side of you, understand you better, colleagues get to know what you like to do and what you’re interested in.
There are so many unspoken barriers in all relationships in life, whether that depends on social norms or just what you are comfortable with. For instance, not all friends share their whole life story with each other but when you do, you both understand each other a bit better, surely not a bad thing. You don’t always open up about your life outside of work to colleagues but when you spend most of your week there, it’s no bad thing to find out you share interests with someone in the same office, a talking point over a cup of coffee.
Like many things in life, the more you give, the more you get, and understanding breeds confidence.
So open up, speak up and learn to listen in return. See what you discover.