Are you the type that can open up easily to others?
When we’re struggling, advice from others can be extremely helpful. Sometimes we feel better just being heard by someone else. However, there are people that have difficulties opening up to others. Some feel that it’s “embarrassing” or feel too vulnerable to “expose weakness” to others.
In fact, study shows that people with a high sense of pride and self-esteem struggle to open up to others.
The Merits of Opening Up
It isn’t easy to open up. You need the courage to expose your vulnerabilities and you also need someone you can trust.
However, there are merits to opening up. Our depressive symptoms and mental health improve when we share our struggles or adversities in life. When someone listens and accepts our problems it brings up our self-esteem and frees our sense of loneliness. Advice and sympathy can also ease anxiety so that we can take the next step in action.
When we experience unpleasant events there’s a strong urge to want to share the experience with others. This urge occurs because venting gives us emotional satisfaction.
The 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Open Up
Even when there are merits to opening up, the idea of showing vulnerabilities can be scary. That’s because we anticipate a negative outcome by sharing our struggles.
What makes us anticipate this negative outcome?
Concern 1: There’s a Hierarchy In Place
There’s a chance that the social dynamics and hierarchy would change when you expose your true thoughts. Some people fear being put in an inferior position once their weaknesses are known.
The idea of a possible downgrade in social positions can send a person into a loop of negative thinking. This won’t be easy to change unless perspectives shift.
Concern 2: You Care What Others Think
There are people who anticipate more anxiety and embarrassment from opening up. They care too much about their public image. The possibility of being looked down upon or making someone uncomfortable outweighs the idea of opening up.
Our own common sense does not equate to other people’s common sense. If their internal values are different from others, it may hold a person back from opening up.
Concern 3: You Don’t Want to Remember Anything Negative
When we open up, we have to recall our negative memories to talk about them. Some people want to avoid this.
If there’s a painful past or an unpleasant memory, it can be mentally draining to dip into the past. In other words, it can feel like wounds are being ripped open. In this case, courage and commitment are required for a person to open up.
People With a High Sense of Pride Care About Their “Image”
We all have pride in who we are. Part of it comes from positive self-esteem and what we feel good about ourselves. Generally speaking, our sense of pride is formed through two aspects. The confidence in our capabilities and the belief in self-value.
How prideful you affects whether or not you can be completely vulnerable to open up.
People who have a lower sense of pride tend to feel easily hurt by adversities. This is because they’ve never felt enough self-value or a sense of belonging. On the other hand, people with a huge sense of pride are more tolerant of adversities. This is because they can focus on the other fun things in life or the positive traits regardless of the situation. Their thinking focuses on the future rather than the past and this creates small room for negativity.
In other words, they don’t need to go and share their struggles that risk their public image. Most people don’t want to give off any negative impressions and to manage a front, they think it’s best to avoid showing any vulnerabilities.
It’s Important to Open Up
Not everyone can open up to show who they really are.
However, opening up about how you really feel can fix problems in a relationship. There’s also a risk that a situation worsens because things are kept a secret.
When we open up, it creates an opportunity to form closer relationships. The act of exposing weakness and shame takes away the divide between people. Human beings are capable of empathy. We can form strong bonds when we truly open up to another person.
If you still struggle to open up, we recommend that you try AI (Artificial Intelligence) counseling. There is an AI counseling app that can support your mental journey and make you feel calm. It also has functions that allow for record-keeping so that you can view your problems from a more objective perspective. An AI robot can listen to your problems without judgment anytime, anywhere.
It’s also much more affordable than traditional therapy. We recommend that you give it a try through a free trial!
Katayama, M. (1996). The relationship between self-esteem and self-disclosure of negative information. The Japanese Journal of Psychology, 67(5), 351–358. https://doi.org/10.4992/jjpsy.67.351