“That is one of the best parts about you, the real what you see is what you get part.”

My roommate said this to me as a struggled out loud with the question of if I was running the risk of over sharing on social media.

Social media can be one of the most challenging places to be when going through any sort of strife. On any given day, 5 minutes on Instagram can bring up some of my biggest fears, around the holidays 5 minutes on Instagram can not only bring up my fears but cement them right outside my front door.

And in this I began to wonder: Why do we share so openly the good, the great, the desirable, but when life takes a left when we want to go right we either become silent or push even harder for people to think we are still going right.

It becomes “bad” to experience pain, suffering, and heartbreak let alone let others see you in the experience. It becomes “too much” or “too personal” when someone shares something painful on the internet.  But maybe that’s the point- maybe part of our suffering is given to us to create a more human experience, to open up what we’ve been shutting down and closing off, within reason of course. We all yearn for connection- connection cannot happen when we shut the most human experiences we have off.

I have a reputation of being pretty outgoing, happy, exciting, full of energy. To be honest I have experienced a lot of shame from a recurrent compliment I’ve received over the last couple of years that sounds somewhat like, “I love following your life, I am jealous and it looks like so much fun.” However, I am not simply just those fun things you see. I’m sensitive, scared, extremely anxious, slow to let go, sometimes selfish, and I second guess every decision I make. True story- I once returned the same pair of shoes 6 times.

I believe the representation I portray of my best self has to include all of my parts. The parts I am proud of and the parts I need to work on.

Our best selves are our whole selves.

Your best self is your whole self.

My best self is my whole self.

If we continue to compare our insides to others’ outsides we run the risk of drawing a permanent shame cycle around our hearts. I am not sure about you, but I do not want to be a part of continuing that cycle. Thus, to the question of risking over sharing- I will run that risk. If you do choose compare part of your life to mine- I want it to be my real life; my real life that I am content in you knowing is nowhere near perfect.

The world needs to see the real parts of all of us. The world needs more opportunities for connection, empathy, and compassion in what challenges us. Sharing in joy and excitement is so fun and feels so good- but sometimes we need something bigger than feeling good. Being authentic is more important than being put together. The single greatest gift I believe you can give the world is your authenticity.  The most rewarding points of connection have come to me when someone has looked at me and said, “I see your crap- I love you.”

Begin to be open today. Share the hard parts. Let someone see your sadness. Your sadness and fear and ability to experience loneliness is a huge part of what makes you a real walking, talking, breathing human being. Expose us to what creates joy in your life but do not stop there. Let your openness to the world be bigger.

“Bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open.”

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