Dear Therapist: How do I open up to people?
Our weekly Dear Therapist column responds to your day-to-day mental health challenges
I find it hard to open up to people and I know that it is very important to talk about how you feel, if something is bothering you. Recently, I started therapy to overcome this but even there, I find it hard to open up and show my vulnerable side. What should I do? — Ramakrishnan M.
Dear Ramakrishnan, I am glad that you took the initiative to change by starting therapy. Acknowledging and talking about emotions, especially negative ones, is an important skill for everyone. It helps one stay in touch with themselves, be aware of their needs and take care of themselves better. There are barriers sometimes that prevent people from communicating needs and emotions. Sometimes, they might be afraid of appearing vulnerable, weak or may fear judgement, dismissal or even believe that it’s a burden to others and that they are being too sensitive about life. One may also have come to believe that they don’t need anyone else and hence they need not discuss their feelings. Understanding your personal barrier and fear can help develop strategies to overcome these misconceptions and beliefs. Apart from therapy, I also recommend that you try journaling, which generally helps people to become more self-aware. Finding one or two friends who you trust and discussing life on a routine basis can make you more open to talking about big feelings when you need to.
(Got a query about mental health? Email us on email@example.com)