I have never been someone who can keep my problems to myself or deal with them quietly and stoically.
If something is going on in my life that's difficult or painful, I have to talk about it with someone. Talking about it helps me to process the situation, and it relieves the tension and anxiety that comes with ruminating.
I'm not always looking for a solution from the other person. Sometimes I just need a listening ear so I can unpack all of the emotions and gain more clarity about the problem.
Unfortunately, it took me a while to discover that not everyone is a good confidant. There are some people in my life with whom I can share the most private and painful feelings without concern. But there are others who are not empathic, trustworthy listeners.
Not everyone feels as comfortable as I do sharing their innermost feelings and painful challenges. They keep things inside and try to manage their problems and emotions alone.
This reticence might be part of their personality, or maybe they were taught as children not to "burden" others with problems and feelings. Some people keep things to themselves because they fear others might judge them or look down on them.
Or maybe, like me, they've bumped into people who did not treat their confidences with dignity and respect. Maybe they were even betrayed by someone they thought was a friend.
Whatever the reason, there are those who find it daunting to open up and talk about their problems with another person, even as they are suffering in silence with the anguish of their situation. Maybe this is how you feel.
Stuffing your feelings and trying to manage your problems alone is not a healthy way to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Even if it feels uncomfortable or "weak," talking to someone about your problems has many emotional and health benefits:
- It can improve your mood and help prevent stress, anxiety, and depression.
- It helps you find solutions and deal with challenges as you articulate the emotions and challenges.
- You feel less alone and isolated with your problem when you share it with some.
- If you are already depressed, you heal more quickly. Studies show that people with good social support get over depression faster and experience less severe symptoms.
- When our perceptions are clouded by painful emotions, other people can help us see things more clearly and rationally.
- Expressing emotions helps reduce the chances of acquiring stress-related health problems like muscle aches and tension headaches.
It's clear that sharing your problems and feelings helps you cope and reduces the burden of bearing them alone. The key is finding the right person or people to listen and support you.