Moorea on Being Open and Brave Online
Today I’ll be posting advice from three bloggers on sharing sensitive subjects online. Each of them wrote about very personal experiences and did it in a way that was inspiring and, I think, very brave. First up is Moorea Seal and later in the day I’ll be adding posts from Angie of Lariats and Lavender and Amy Morby.
When I first started my blog years and years ago, it was far more personal than it is even now, can you believe it? What I have learned over the past few years is when it is appropriate to get personal, open and honest about my personal struggles on my blog and when it is best to keep things to myself. I have had many struggles and hardships over my life, as many other have too, and the healthiest way that I have worked through the hurts of my past is by recognizing that by sharing my story, I can help others to heal from their personal pains as well. I believe that one of the best ways to learn is by teaching others. When you are able to open up about your life and experiences, sharing your story with others, you may find yourself giving advice that you never applied to yourself and your own problems. And in that way, you can begin to learn from your own hidden wisdom. Also, when you start to open up to others about your life experiences, you may be able to suddenly recognize the strength you have had in times of pain that you didn’t see before. I think everyone is stronger and wiser than they let themselves believe, it is just all about being willing to open up.
One important thing though about opening up about your life on your blog is that you need to be aware that anyone can read what you write, anyone will have access to learning about your story. For me, I had some majorly traumatic experiences in my earlier life that resulted because of other people’s actions or lack there of. I do not speak directly about who has hurt me in the past because I really think it is wrong to target others on the net, even if they did hurt me. Be the bigger person and don’t slander anyone else’s name, no matter how much they hurt you.
Another thing you really need to be aware of is how your personal experiences have also been a part of the life story of those close to you. I will never speak directly about the trauma I have experienced in my lifetime if it in anyway had a direct effect or connection to someone else in my life because I don’t want to publicize their story on the web. Even if it is partly my story, it is not ok to publish a story or experience on the web that could reveal details of someone else’s life without their permission. Think before you write/speak. Will what I am about to write effect someone I know in a negative way? Will I be revealing a personal story of someone else’s life while I tell mine? If that is the case, keep that story to yourself.
Being personal on the web should also not be just a straight up pity party. We ALL go through hardships and pains on a weekly basis. No one of our hardships are more important than another person’s hardships and no one wants to read a blog where someone is just complaining and pulling the “woe is me” card all the time. If you DO talk about your hardships, you need to think through what you say, phrasing it in a way that is inclusive of others, allowing them to relate to your story and PROMOTING healing from the experience.
I try my best to not talk about a personal story on my blog until I have started to see a way in which I have grown in the experience, a way in which I am actively seeking guidance in my struggle, have been challenged in a good way because of it, or have become a better person because of it. This way, when I tell my story, I am not just venting but am sharing an experience and offering ways for others to relate and to reflect in a positive way on the experience. I want to encourage healing for others with what I say and that is what you need to have in mind when being really honest and open on your blog.
Lastly, being open on your blog doesn’t mean that you go into detail on every aspect of your personal life. When I was younger, I would complain a lot on my blog about how much it sucked being single or I would talk about boyfriends I currently had. As a 25 year old woman, I now rarely rarely mention my significant other. We have been dating for over 2 years and am so in love with him, but that doesn’t need to be strewn all over the web no matter how amazing he is. He deserves privacy as does our relationship. I want my personal relationships to feel safe from being blabbed about all over the web and the same goes for posting photos of those I love on the web. You never know where your photos will end up once they are on the web and I don’t want to scatter images of those I love all over the web unintentionally without their permission.
What it comes down to about being open and brave online is recognizing the difference between using your personal, vulnerable stories to ENCOURAGE and help others RATHER than just venting, slandering others, or inappropriately exploiting others stories or your own story. If you can’t decided whether your personal story is appropriate or not to write about on the web, just wait awhile. Write it out and don’t post it. Come back to it a few days later, weeks later, or a few months later. Chances are by that time, you can re-read your story with a fresh perspective and can go through and edit it out what may be too personal, too revealing, too negative, or too self deprecating. Try to come up with a way to use that story as a way to promote love and encouragement to others AND yourself and talk about that in the post. Then you have the go ahead to post it :)
Be cautious, be wise, don’t be afraid to get a little bit vulnerable and make sure your mind is thinking through what you write as your heart is poured out on the page. Stop, reflect on what you have read, give it a moment. Come back later with a clearer head and add as much positivity and reflection on your story as you can before you do decided to post it. Even if you have a hard or sad story to tell, make sure you have a positive way to reflect and work through the experience when you share it. And when you feel at peace with what you have written, recognizing how your words can HELP others, then post it! You deserve to have your voice out there in the world and others deserve the chance to learn from you.
Thank you so much Moorea!
Check out her blog series Paint Your Love and do a little something nice for yourself today.04.23.12 in 6 Weeks to a Better Blog