When I was growing up, my parents never allowed us to have any of our doors closed.
The only door in the house that was allowed to be closed AND locked was my grandmother's, out or traditional Chinese deference for the fact that she was the matriarch in the family.
Yet, simultaneously, my parents never held healthy boundaries — they fought ceaselessly in front of us, asked us (directly and implied) to navigate the waters of their relationship), and help mitigate the challenges of being immigrants in America.
It left me without any feelings that privacy was okay.
It wasn't until decades later that a boyfriend at the time finally said to me, "Y'know, you're entitled to the privacy of your own thoughts."
"What?" I asked.
"You don't have to tell me everything, just the same as I don't have to tell you everything. Some things, we can keep to ourselves."
Now, that had never – EVER – occurred to me.
I thought that in order to have a healthy relationship of any sort, you had to be a completely open book or that...
You had to divulge until there was no more to share.
You had to answer every question that was asked of you.
You had to do what was asked.
But, that's not healthy.
Instead, it's healthy to acknowledge that you can have an inner world that's all your own. One where you're allowed to explore fantasies or dive into desires that maybe only you have to know about.
It's okay to have a space of your own.
In fact, Virginia Woolf espoused it with feminist literature by writing a whole narrative about having A Room of One's Own.
When it comes to sharing authentically online, I don't tout "oversharing."
I know that once you post something online, it pretty much lives in infamy, so you better be darn sure that what you say is content that you're okay having out there forever.
(In the days before I realized the power of the Internet, I did a photoshoot with a friend where I posed in suggestive clothing and for the life of me, I cannot get those photos deleted, so... if you google me, yes, you'll find the countless pieces I've published or the yoga videos on YouTube with tens of thousands of views, but you might find that, too. #confession)
There are even entire articles about how when you "break up" with someone, you never actually break up with them online, since you'll be in a photo tagged somewhere in another friend's feed and your former romantic history connection to exist.
Here are my 3 suggestions if you want to share more authentically online:
- Check in with your gut.
As a woman, you have more intuitive powers than you realize and you CAN USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE IN BUSINESS, so use them. Your intuition can steer you to the path of the greatest good for all.
- Ask yourself, "Is this helping someone?"
You're a conscious individual. You want to create more good vibes in the world. Then ask yourself if what you're writing or sharing is actually contributing to elevating the energy around us. Trust me, I have had PLENTY of Taylor Swift moments where I could've really shown my scorn towards people in the ways I was wronged, but the thing that actually proved the best was acting in grace over revenge.
Is what you're writing true to you (because in the end, all we can ever share is the truth from our own perspective) and will it help another soul?
- Have you come through to the other side?
Awhile back, I read an article from a writer who said that too many people publish too early. As in, they're still going through the life experience and they're already sharing about it before it's completely unfolded. Let me be clear that writing is an amazing tool to help you heal, but sharing it with the world while you're healing? Maybe not so much.
Can you come through with a valuable lesson, even in the midst of what you're going through, so that people can be emboldened by what you're going through?
Here's an example: the ever amazing IMO comedienne, Ali Wong, shared in an interview with Terry Gross, that when she had her miscarriage, she immediately started using it as material in her stand-up. Unfortunately, no one was laughing, and she couldn't understand why. She reached out to her colleague, Chris Rock (yep, THAT Chris Rock) who told her that, "It's too early, yo. Your audience is uncomfortable and don't feel that it's okay to laugh, because they can see that you're not really through it yet. When you've fully processed it for yourself, that's when they'll feel okay to laugh about it, too."
You've got to make sure you're okay with where you are, so your audience will feel okay, too.