I began writing this blog nearly a month ago with a deep breath and a huge leap of faith. As I wrote in my introductory blog, I had been putting off writing a blog for a variety of reasons – self-doubt and privacy protection being two main concerns. But when I decided to forge ahead with the blogging project, I timidly put aside my vulnerabilities and decided to put it all out there.
In the brief time that I have been writing this blog, I have noticed some surprising results. First, the process of documenting my thoughts and opinions has been far more liberating that I had anticipated. The feelings of satisfaction I feel after posting a piece, particularly those of a highly personal nature, are indescribable. Although feelings of self-doubt linger (Have I offended anyone with something I wrote? Is the piece interesting? Have readers clicked away after the first paragraph? And is anyone even reading this darn thing?), I have realized that I just don’t care about those doubts all that much.
Another unintended, but beneficial, result of writing the blog has been the accountability that putting it all out there has created. For instance, after I posted the blog on hospitality two weeks ago, I was obligated to follow through with the aspirations I had laid out in the piece. By writing about life, love, and humanity, I am holding myself accountable for living out those virtues in my own daily life. Not surprising, many experts suggest that there is a higher success rate for goals such as weight loss and quitting smoking when the goals are shared with family and friends. Putting it all out there creates a support system that helps to facilitate accountability.
Perhaps, most importantly though, is the positive effect that putting it all out there has had on some of my relationships. For example, I recently put it out there that I am in the process of writing a book. I have been working on the book for about six months, yet I hadn’t shared this information with anyone (other than my husband) until recently. When a couple of my close friends discovered that I was undergoing such a monumental project, I suspect that some were confused and hurt that they had been left in the dark for so long.
I had refrained from publicly disclosing my book writing efforts, not to shut anyone out, but rather as a means of ego-protection in case the project is an abject failure. But far outweighing any embarrassment that I may feel over a failed aspiration is the support that I received after sharing the information. The encouragement that I received only enhanced our friendships and reinforced the reasons why these individuals are among my closest friends.
By keeping our innermost goals, feelings, fears, and doubts from others (particularly those who are closest to us), we manifest a barrier in the relationship that prevents us from truly knowing one another. But by putting it all out there – sharing our goals, fears, and doubts with others – we can further enhance, enrich, and strengthen our relationships. We allow others to know us, and not just our persona.
The same is true for public praise and affection. Admittedly, I am not a publicly affectionate person (as my husband will certainly attest), but there is much to be said for publicly sharing the love, respect, and admiration that you feel for another person. Everyone likes a pat on the back, and when appreciation is expressed publicly it seems to increase exponentially. (With that in mind, please bear with me as I publicly dish out praise and affection to my husband for his selflessness and fortitude, for always believing in me, and for keeping me from drifting off into my cloud of emotions as I might otherwise do; to my boys for teaching me patience and the true meaning of unconditional love; to my family for all of their support and friendship since the beginning of time; to all of my BFFs for your love, friendship, advice, guidance, and good wine.)
So put it all out there. Share your hopes, dreams, and fears with others. Publicly express your love. Praise your loved ones. Acknowledge your love on a memory wall like Kathy & Rick, and Mark & Jack in the photo above. Put it all out there. Take nothing with you.