Celebrations are public, hardships are private

It seems to be natural to us to keep the more difficult things in our lives to ourselves and be much more open about the happy events in our lives. So often we don’t know about relationship, financial or other troubles in people’s lives. But very often, after the fact, we hear from the person how they went through a very hard time and thank God, this and that happened and now things are so much better.

But is this how it should be? Should we feel so hesitant to share the hardships in our lives with others? Of course there are the really bad cases of drug addicts or abused women who keep their suffering a secret but what about less serious things? Is it bad if more than just your closest family and friends know, for example, if you’re arguing with your husband? Or if you’re worried about your finances? Or if you feel unsure about where you are religiously? Why do these things feel so private?

I think that the main reason we don’t share our problems widely is because if we tell someone about our problems, we’re opening ourselves up, for good and for bad. It gives others the opportunity to “help” us by giving us advice and offering assistance. Advice and assistance that we don’t necessarily want.

But it also might be help that we really could use. Is it possible that if we were more open about our problems, we’d get better help quicker?

I think another reason we feel the need to sort of put on a show for the outside world is because there is a fear – very possibly a legitimate one – that if people know really how sad or worried I am about something or, if people see what problems I’m going through, they will look at me differently, respect me less and not necessarily want to have as much to do with me.

It definitely is true that someone who complains too much is hard to be around. But if you have to hide your feelings too much that isn’t good either. Especially if the problem is big enough that it’s really affecting you. You know those people who make a lame attempt to pretend everything is OK? You almost wish they’d just be open and admit that something is wrong. Well, except, then you need the strength to hear about the person’s problems.

So, where is the balance? Shouldn’t we be able to act at least a little more human around each other?


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