Every Tuesday, I attend a day-long session with the counsellors of a mental health institute as a visitor. The day involves sessions on client cases and experiential learning.
To help the group bond better, a chunk of time is set aside for self-reflection.
This is when we go round discussing our feelings and talking about issues that might be troubling us as individuals. This section is the toughest but the best part of the day for me. And each time - I am in awe of the sincerity and vulnerability with which so many people in the group share what they are thinking and going through.
While I am notorious for being too direct in what I say, to be able to talk very transparently about myself and discuss my deepest fears and insecurities, with those I work with, is very difficult. I can’t claim to have ever done it.
In fact, it is not easy for me to be completely transparent with anyone I know.
In my interactions with people who have been booking conversations on SoulUp, I have come across different reasons why a lot of us are unable to share some of our deepest feelings and truths even with our closest circle. Broadly -
We are afraid to ‘burden’ them with our issues: We feel that our loved ones have enough problems of their own. Why load them with additional worries?
They may not get it: Not everyone relates to everything. Your mom may not understand your problems from work. My best friend may not know what it is like to cope with an unruly kid.
There is a compulsive need to maintain our ‘image’: Sometimes we want to talk about issues that simply aren’t congruent with our personality among friends/family. And we don’t want to explain or defend something that was not ‘expected from us’.
We are looking for a fresh perspective: A lot of us struggle with the same kind of issues all through. Possible that bringing them up again with someone has become ad nauseam. And you end up getting the same reaction/advice each time.
It is somewhat expected but also intriguing to see how many of us are unable to easily find a fail-proof and safe environment to talk about things we are struggling with.
Our attempt at SoulUp is to create these avenues and hope that we no longer give ourselves this excuse when de-prioritising our emotional health.