I’m learning that I can’t tell everyone everything. My habit has been for a long time to gather opinions from everyone around me when I’m making a decision or going through a difficult time and need some guidance. I remember once when I was dating a guy, and he had told me he didn’t want to do anything with me on Valentine’s Day. We had only been seeing each other for a few weeks, so I sort of understood his reasoning and tried not to read too much into it. However, the next day at work I proceeded to poll half the women in my office to find out what he “meant” by that. And as a result, I received about 40 varying opinions that ran the gamut from “chill out, that doesn’t mean anything” to “RUN!” All the voices of these women in my head sent me home more anxious about my lack of Valentine’s date than I had been on my way to work that morning.
That was the day I began to wonder if I should be more choosy about who I share important information with and who I seek wisdom from. What to share, with whom, and when. This is what I try to ask myself now. And more recently I’ve been doing this in the area of my dreams and passions. Wondering who I should share them with so that I don’t cry all the way home with 40 different voices in my head that run the gamut of overly encouraging to “you’re an idiot.” It is such a delicate balance. It is taking seriously the pearls to swine metaphor. And it often takes the negative and hurtful responses to teach us this.
If you are really honest with yourself, you probably know who your safe people are. You know the friends and family who are wise and caring with the secrets and stories you tell them, and you know the friends and family who are not so wise and caring and who have wounded you. Those people are still an important part of our lives. You probably enjoy them and like them and don’t want to stop telling them things altogether, but is it worth it to give them the precious things? The secret fears and dreams, when you know they’re more likely to manhandle the information than they are to hold it lightly and talk it through with you? Probably not.
In my current life phase, I’m excited about pursuing new dreams but finding myself protecting what I say to whom and when. It’s not being guarded as much as it is being careful. It is hard for me to not blurt out every idea and struggle, poll my entire office building and send out mass texts to different friend groups. I want people to give me feedback and tell me what to do, but I also know that I can make decisions and progress without hearing from numerous people in my life first and that in the end, there are only a handful of voices I should be listening to anyways.
The other night I found myself in a cluster of new friends at a concert…