For When We Share Too Much

I had shared too much.

Not credit card numbers or pap smear results. But tender bits of myself that needed to be kept close and swaddled, not flung around like a lasso.

I did it to fill in silences, to impress and impact the listening audience, probably for other reasons I don’t yet know.

And when I do this, I feel half naked.

Slow down, friends say gently. Yes, I say. It’s just so hard when you’re uncomfortable. And isn’t that what sharing too much is trying to extinguish: some discomfort with silence, with not having the impact we wanted, with something we can’t yet name?

You can get better at slowing down, a friend says. Something else I can get better at: respecting the quiet warnings. That little awareness to stop the story here, go no further. That voice, which comes less in our head and more in our gut, saying we don’t need to share this. That sense that I can let the silence be.

These inklings are the work of some ancient part of us that holds a greater intelligence than cognitive and works in a greater timescape than right now. We aren’t taught how to listen, trust, even believe these inklings. But we can get better, like we can get better at slowing down.

And what occurs to me is in this half-naked state is that heeding these inklings isn’t merely self-protection, it is self-regard.

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