Understanding our own emotions is not easy, especially if they are negative. A common response to a difficult situation is to shut down and withdraw from your friends, family, peers and other loved ones. While seclusion certainly paves way for introspection, it also creates a path towards self-criticism. As our own worst critics, it’s highly likely that we place the blame on ourselves. Sharing our tough experiences with those we trust can provide us with new perspectives, and more importantly support. Reaching out takes a lot of strength and trust, but the returns are immeasurable.
Clarity & Communication
Something that discourages us from reaching out for help is whether or not the other person will understand. Valid. It takes so much to process and articulate your emotions, even to yourself. However, it’s important to remember that as communications professionals, we’re so used to making sure our audience grasp our/our clients’ key messages. When we decide that we’re going to share our experiences, we are more cognizant of the details & context required for someone else to understand it. This helps us arrange our thoughts, and understand where they stem from.
Improved Relationship Accountability
Deciding the best person to speak to forces us to really evaluate our relationships and how we act in them. We learn who we feel safe being open with, and the level of vulnerability we’re comfortable with. Understanding how to express ourselves and our trauma also leads us to examine how we want others to respond to our experiences. Do we want words of affirmation “I’m here for you,”; affirmative touch such as supportive hugs, distraction, or advice. Knowing this can greatly improve the quality of your relationship with the person you’re speaking to, as well as yourself.
Many of us seek closure after an upsetting experience. However, rarely any of us ever find it, let alone achieve it without further distress. Accepting difficult truisms and communicating them– to yourself and others– is an important step in the healing process. Hearing different perspectives can help you find peace while advancing your emotional development. This leaves you with more bandwidth. You can use this (re)gained time and energy to set clear goals, create action plans, and seek out new hobbies.
Anonymity & Objectivity
When we decide that a mental health professional is the best person to discuss our struggles with, that’s when our mental health journey expedites greatly. Supplementing our emotional development with professional assistance is one of the best things we can do. While your peers can provide emotional support and advice, professionals have spent years studying the brain. They are trained professionals who will give you objective advice tailored to your mental responses. Additionally, we tend to worry if we’re bothering our friends with our problems. With a professional, that’s not an issue.