We all know that talking about your emotions and what you’re going through is really important. And yet, so many people don’t do it! That’s because they have a HUGE fear of opening up about their feelings.
Can you relate to that? I could for a VERY long time!
I spent most of my childhood and young adolescent life keeping everything locked inside of myself. That, obviously, never helped me get through anything.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I ever really opened up about anything. But talking about my emotions with other people in my life and my therapist was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done.
It helped me in SO many ways (and still does!), because I finally learned how necessary it was.
That’s why I brought this topic to the podcast because I KNOW how important it is. I need everyone that listens to or reads my content to know that it’s a necessary part of creating happiness in your life.
But I know it’s scary. It’s SUPER scary! I have 4 tips to help you get past all the scariness of it, but first – we have to ask the question:
Why do you have the fear of opening up?
I think there are a crap ton of reasons for it. Fears manifests itself in a lot of different ways, and it can be different for every person!
For me, there were two main reasons why I was so nervous about talking about my feelings.
One of them was that I thought that what I needed to get off my chest was “too dark” for anyone to hear.
I didn’t want to bring unhappiness into any conversation, so I completely avoided it. I figured that all the things I had on my mind would just tear down the good emotions of people around me, and I didn’t want to do that.
Over time, I learned that there was a time and a place for talking about my emotions – I just had to find it. I realized that my feelings and thoughts weren’t “too dark.” They just had to be spoken about at the right time.
My other fear was that I would end up being a burden to other people in my life. I didn’t want them to think that they had to deal with my issues, so I avoided even bringing them up all together.
I eventually realized, though, that talking about my emotions to someone wasn’t the same as that person taking on the responsibility of the issues. Those were two different things!
Can you relate to either of those fears? I think they are pretty common, but you might have some other ones!
No matter what your fear is, I’m not here to pat you on the back and say that it’s okay to wallow in your fear. It’s okay to BE afraid, but you can’t avoid conversation forever. It’s unhealthy! (I’m throwing around a lot of sass right now, but I’m very passionate about this, lol.)
Keep reading to get 4 tips to help you get over your fear of opening up about your emotions because it just might change your life!
Tip #1: Journal about why you’re afraid
Journaling is absolutely amazing for so many reasons, and I promote using it for your mental health and self improvement, like…all the time!
Writing in a journal is a great way to get all of your thoughts and emotions out of your head so that you can literally see what you’re thinking about.
Then, you can process your emotions in a visual way without them all being scrambled up inside of your head.
Related: How to Journal Effectively
The other part about journaling for this exercise is that you don’t want to think of it like it’s an organized process. You don’t have to worry about thoughts like, “Hmmm, what should I write first?”
Just write whatever comes to your brain as it comes up. Start with whatever thoughts you have write this moment and then just go from there!
However, I do know that sometimes it’s hard to get started with jounaling (even I struggle sometimes now!), so I wanted to give you a few prompts to get your brain thinking and get started.
You don’t have to answer every one of these. Again – just write down whatever thoughts come up! These prompts are just meant to get you started.
- Are you afraid that you’ll be talking with the wrong person?
- Is there stuff that you know might come up in conversation that you don’t feel ready to confront?
- Do you just not want to deal with the emotions that you’ve been holding in?
- Are you nervous about what someone else might think of you once you tell them?
The reason why you want to write about WHY you’re afraid is because it gives you details. Instead of just saying, “I’m scared of opening up,” you can say, “I’m scared of opening for X-Y-Z reasons.”
Knowing exactly what’s going on is really good! It gives you more control over those emotions and you can manage them a lot better!
Tip #2: Think about the outcome of talking about your feelings
Fear is a very strong emotion. It’s one that really likes to stick to you. It’s really easy to think about your fear of opening up, and then ONLY think about that.
As easy as that is, though, it’s also really important to try and think about the opposite end of the spectrum. What amazing things could come out of starting the conversation?
Truthfully, there are SO many! A million great things could come out of you finally talking about your emotions. Those things can be different for every single person (just like how the fears we discussed earlier can be!) but they are ALL powerful!
Try to think about how much happier you’ll feel, how much lighter the weight you’ve had on your heart will be, and how your thoughts will improve over time.
Your fear can be really strong, but you should always try and think positively. It’s a hard thing to do and it WILL take practice!
But the reality is that you want to, ultimately, feel better, right? So you need to think about what feeling better would actually mean to you and concentrate on those thoughts.
Instead of getting caught up in WHY you’re afraid to do something, think about why the fear you have now will be SO worth it in the long run.
Tip #3: Find the right person to talk to
As important as this tip is, it also involves a LOT of trial and error. (Unless you’re just really lucky.)
But you have to think about this: what’s the point in talking with someone that really doesn’t make you feel better, understands you or, at the very least, doesn’t judge you for what you’re saying?
It just wastes time, and you then have to keep trying again until you find someone that is helpful for you.
I encourage you to, instead, think about what you want in the person you decide to talk to. It will at least narrow down the playing field for you so can have only a small handful of people to choose from!
Things to consider are the person’s overall qualities, how they talk to YOU, if they’ve gone through something similar to you, and what their relationship to you is. Do you want to speak with a friend, a family member, or a stranger (like a therapist?)
If you decide you want to speak with a professional therapist, read this post by Faith of Radical Transformation Project – she gives great advice on seeing a therapist for the first time!
No matter what happens, though, you get to decide who your ideal person to talk to is. It’s a very personal decision.
It’s important to think about your ideal person in advance, though, because it can definitely save you some heartache. Some people might not be the right fit and that’s totally okay!
And also, remember this: if you speak with someone that isn’t a good fit, it’s okay. You might miss the shot the first few tries, but it’s not the end of the world! Keep trying to find the person that will help you the most because you deserve to get those emotions off of your chest!
Tip #4: Live with the fear you have
There’s a quote that says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Honestly, that quote has meant a lot to me over recent months. I thought of it as soon as I started creating the outline for this episode. It applies to this whole concept SO much!
Like I said earlier, fear is a very strong emotion. Strong emotions can be really tough to overcome!
But even then, you have to stop waiting to overcome the fear. You have to just start opening up even when you’re still scared. The reality is that you probably will never NOT have the fear of opening up. (Double negative wassup?!)
If you wait until the fear is gone, you’ll be waiting forever and your emotions will never be released.
You might have to say to yourself, “Oh man. I am terrified to do this. But it’s going to be SO worth it.” (Think back to Tip #2!) Having those reassuring words in the back of your brain will be really helpful!
And once you DO start talking about what you’re going through, you’ll feel 10x better and your fear will even start to drip away until it’s gone completely.
In this episode of the podcast (blog post available to read) I mention that I was terrified when I started therapy. I eventually just went for it and it seriously changed my whole life in an amazing way!
So you have to live with your fear, feel it, acknowledge it and just start talking about your emotions anway. You’ll be so thankful later on that you did.
Ready to take what you’re reading to the next level? Check this out!
It’s time to move on from your fear of opening up!
I hope that this post motivated you to open up and talk with someone about what you’re going through. It’s a very important thing to do and can transform your mental health journey in such a positive way!