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If you are in a new relationship with someone (or if you have been seeing someone for quite some time now) and you find yourself feeling scared or ambivalent of sharing too much too soon in your relationship, here are some things that you can consider and do to help you make sure that you are making the right choices about what you are ready or not yet ready to share.
Ask Yourself: What is Preventing Me from Sharing?
Is it fear, lack of trust, or not knowing how to communicate what you want to share? Get clear on what it is that is holding you back so that you can properly address why you do not feel comfortable sharing. Maybe it is because this territory is new for you, and you therefore are not sure about what to share or not share. Maybe it is because you are not yet sure that you fully trust the person you are dating. Or maybe you are worried about what your partner will think of you when you do finally open up.
If any or all of what I mentioned here are the reason behind you not sharing in your relationship, the following tools will help you get clear on how to move forward.
Think About Your Partner’s Qualities
Think about the people in your life that you feel comfortable being your real self with. What are their characteristics? What are they doing that makes you feel comfortable sharing your truth with them? These people in your life that you already feel comfortable around have certain qualities that allow you to feel comfortable to share with them. These are people you feel safe a secure with and are not worried will judge you. Take note and make a list of these qualities. Check to see whether or not your partner has these qualities. When you become aware of what others in your life do to help you feel comfortable sharing, ask your partner to do these things (e.g. if you feel comfortable when your friend is listening to you and fully present with you, tell your partner that you feel comfortable sharing when someone does these things. Ask him or her to do the same so that you can feel comfortable sharing with them, as well.)
Get Clear on Your Boundaries
To get clear on what you are ready and willing to share or not share with your partner (or anyone else in your life, including acquaintances) categorize what you are willing to share and not to share into the following three categories:
Feelings, ideas or experiences you do not share with anyone (or only a very select few people in your life that you absolutely trust.) (Hint: The people that you trust are likely to have the qualities that make you feel the most comfortable and secure sharing your truth with.)
Feelings, ideas, or experiences that you share with people you feel close to. These are the things that you are comfortable sharing with those people in your life that you respect and want to build a relationship with. They also have the qualities you look for in people you feel comfortable with.
Feelings, ideas, or experiences you share with anyone. These might be things that you consider light and do not feel vulnerable sharing with others. Anyone can know these things about you. You might share these things with your fellow co-workers or classmates, acquaintances, or even someone you just met and are having a nice conversation with on the bus.
A visual that I use to help me categorize what I choose to share or not to share, is a traffic light.
The Red Light represents the feelings, ideas, thoughts or experiences I consider to be very private, and either choose not to share with anyone, or only a very select few people I feel closest to in my life.
The Yellow Light represents those things that I share with those I consider to be my good friends.
The Green Light represents those things that I am fine sharing with anyone, even those I strike up a conversation with at the bus stop or at the post office.
Getting clear on the qualities and characteristics of the people in your life you feel most comfortable being yourself with (and sharing your truth with), and what you share with whom, will help you in making the right choice as to what you choose to share with your partner and when.
Be in touch with any questions or comments. You can simply share you comment publicly below or send me a private message here.
In support and admiration,