My mother was known as a very wise woman. On a regular basis, women would come to our house seeking my mother’s wisdom. I vividly recall her various friends sitting around the kitchen table, waiting for my mom to help them solve their issues and make sense of their predicament. She somehow had a knack at understanding people and seeing through to the truth in every situation.
One of my mother’s favorite sayings was “don’t air your dirty laundry”. She felt that you shouldn’t share all the bad stuff going on in your life. My mom believed that it was best in life to keep it quiet. Now that I’m older, I question her wisdom.
On one hand, I agree with this principle. People truly don’t need to know every detail of your life, nor am I sure that they are even interested. Frankly, does everyone really need to know the intimate details of your dysfunctional childhood? Being able to assess what should be shared and what needs to be kept to yourself and your most intimate friends is part of having healthy boundaries. In other words, having healthy boundaries in life means you’re able to ascertain what is too much information to share.
On Facebook, you see this concept played out time and time again. I’m always shocked at the personal information that women are more than willing to share with others. Must you share with 400 of your “closest” friends the horrible details of your divorce? Maybe it’s not such a great idea for you to divulge to 400 people the embarrassing personal problems that you’re having with your teenage daughter. Your “friends” have absolutely nothing to gain or learn by receiving this information and you have nothing positive to gain by sharing it.
On the other hand, there are women that make it a habit to share absolutely nothing in life that’s the least bit negative. These are the ones that adhere to the “don’t air your dirty laundry” rule to an extreme. They want everyone to believe that they are living the perfect life. These women are eager to give the illusion that their careers, kids and husbands are wonderful and their life is always fabulous. The reality is that their life is like an airbrushed picture in a magazine— at first glance it looks great, but after awhile, you get the distinct feeling that it’s way too good to be true.
Who hasn’t seen this on Facebook? Women post the most wonderful accomplishments of their children and perfect pictures of their families. They describe the wonderful places they’ve traveled and the fabulous guy that they married. The problem with this way of life is that you can only go on for so long before your illusion comes crashing down around you. Living in denial and not dealing with your issues honestly catches up with you.
I believe the best approach is to take the middle of the road. It’s healthy to be “real”, but not to the point where you have to share every intimate detail of your life. It’s healthy to share embarrassing and upsetting pieces of your life with your closest confidantes— people that you can trust. Friends that can help you sort through the pain and ride with you to the other side are the ones you should “air” to. It is not healthy for your life to be an open book. So girlfriends, find a balance. Be real, be healthy, but be smart.