By: Jarius Edens
"Don't tell them everything!" was what my mother said the day I came home crying because someone in my 5th grade class told a secret I'd shared. Okay...I know it's not a secret if someone else knows, but I was in 5th grade. I didn't quite know the secret code to sharing information.
If you haven't been in the position I was in during that heart-wrenching day in 5th grade, you may have experienced this as a teenager, a college student, or a lover in a relationship. Sharing vulnerable stories about your life, dreams, and fears with others can put you in a position of uncertainty. You simply have no idea where your sensitive information will end up and how it will be used. Oftentimes, your most vulnerable stories can land in the depths of one's heart and change their lives. They will praise you, love you, and tell everyone about you. Other times, your vulnerable stories can land in the hands of manipulators and critics, and they can weaponize your words, and those words can become bullets pointed at you. And, how crazy is that? Your story can be used to hurt you. Since we know this, we have to do as Brene Brown instructs us. Brown tells us our stories are precious and priceless which means we have to share our vulnerable stories with those who deserve to hear them.
How do we know if someone deserves to hear our stories? Here's my list of 5 ways to identify if someone deserves to hear your story.
1. They are respectful of your current feelings. They do not dismiss your feelings when you’re sharing how you feel in the moment. They keep toxic encouragement at bay and seek to actively listen to your concerns and your feelings. They allow you to feel your feelings with safety.
2. They actively listen to your stories of transparency FIRST. Stories of transparency aren’t quite as in depth as our vulnerability stories. For example, telling someone you’ve had a bad day after missing a special school program for your child is a story of transparency. It causes you to avoid saying you are simply “okay” when someone ask how you’re doing.
3. They honor your requests to use your own voice to share your stories. If you ask them not to share your stories of transparency, they keep your information sacred. They allow you to share your stories in the manner you see fit with those you choose to tell. They earn your trust and never share your stories unless you have granted them permission.
4. They do not share the vulnerable stories of others with you. When you’re determining whether someone deserves to know your story, listen carefully as well. Make sure they aren’t sharing the vulnerable stories of others. We must respect the voice that accompanies any story, and avoid sharing someone’s story out of sheer excitement or power. When a person chooses to retell your story without permission, the trustworthiness is missing. Share your story with caution.
5. They participate in the act of vulnerable storytelling. Being vulnerable is reciprocal and a part of building trust. We only know the true heart of someone once they choose to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is the only way to build a trusting relationship.
When it’s time to determine if someone deserves to hear your story, ask yourself this question: have they shared a story of transparency with me? What about a vulnerable story with me? Have they considered me worthy of hearing their story? Are they worthy of hearing mine?
As you choose to share your stories of vulnerability, take a few seconds and evaluate if someone deserves to hear your story. Remember it is a privilege for them to know what made you into the wonderful and warm-hearted person you are today. You hold the right to share your heart at your own risk.
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I never had boundaries before the age of 33. I wanted to make everyone happy and not hurt anyone's feelings. I hoped other people didn't make me uncomfortable or shove me into a corner where I had to tell them to stop. I was a people-pleaser with no boundaries. As an empath, I simply "felt" horrible for saying no, and I would end up resentful for not speaking my mind about a situation.
Then, one day it hit me in the face. I didn't have any set standards for people in my life or my business. They could call me me anytime. They could treat me badly. They could extort my gift for free, and I wouldn't say anything. Well, after a few too many instances which left me feeling empty, and I was ready for a change. In the last year, I have become happier and healthier because I have incorporated boundaries.
Boundaries are about identifying who respects you and who doesn’t. Those who don’t respect you (BTW you can’t earn respect) will not adhere to your boundaries. They will attempt to cross them, push them, and ignore them. Yes, your boundaries can be things you want as well. If you want someone to talk to you about their issues with you, you can set that boundary.
Would you go to Target at 6am, knock on the door, yell to them, and ask why they aren't open?? Would you message the CEO or manager and tell them that they shouldn’t ever let a customer show up and they not be open?
Other than the fact that you'd be yelling into the abyss, what would happen if you went to Target at 6am?
Nothing would happen because Target has pretty definite boundaries on when they open, and it's not at 6am.
You can be as steadfast as Target about your boundaries if you make a decision to do business with boundaries in tact.
Business with Boundaries
1. Reveal what you are willing to do.
2. Speak up when someone is crossing your boundaries.
3. Use NO as a complete sentence.
4. Respect the boundaries of others as an example.
5. Only connect with others who can truly handle your requests for personal space, defined work times, and peace of mind.
We have to do this with our personal lives, businesses, and ourselves. Create those boundaries with others. Respect your own boundaries. Live in bliss with boundaries.
Jarius Edens is lead content creator for Kreative Copy and Blissful Empath. She is an empath, HSP, and INFP.
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