“Share what is vulnerable, not what is intimate.”

“I don’t share anything until my feelings and growth aren’t still dependent on it.”

– Brené Brown

Whenever we share this quote with therapists in our community, the thread lights up. We tend to call on Brené's wisdom when we're talking about what details to share on your About page or in a blog post. It's also an important bit of wisdom when you're were deep into our exploration of what makes stories work and what makes them fall flat. 

It’s almost always a struggle, deciding what story elements add depth and what’s going too deep.

Every time I hit publish, I’m grateful to have Brené to look to when I worry “Is this TMI?"

After all, when writing is both your private, emotional processing tool and the way you communicate publicly and professionally, it can feel like a tightrope walk.

How do you tell the difference between a rich, compelling story and simply pouring out your guts?

Again, there’s a Brené quote for that. (Isn’t there a BB line for just about everything related to relationships, vulnerability, and speaking truth?)

“Share what is vulnerable, not what is intimate.”

Sharing vulnerable stories reveals your humanity and creates connections.

Pouring out the intimate details into a public space where people who aren’t prequalified to hold you in all your glorious imperfection…

At best, you get no response at all. Worse, potential clients judge what they do not understand, turn away, and seek out someone who they believe is more in control of their sh*t. And worst of all, you could problematize a relationship with a current client who is leaning on you and depending on your strength.

So how do you tell the difference between the vulnerable stories that are ready for the spotlight and intimacies that need to be held in reserve?

  1. Check in with your own process. Can you say “I’ve healed this” and feel you’re being completely honest with yourself?

  2. Decide why you’re telling the story. Do you have something to teach based on your experiences or do you just need someone to be your witness?

If your answer to #1 is “I haven’t healed this yet,” that’s great. Pull out your journal, call a friend, make sure you're on time for your next session with your own therapist.

Take some deep breaths and remember: Do. Not. Publish. This. (Yet.)

If you your answer to #2 is “I need a witness,” embrace this beautifully human moment. As Rebecca so often reminds us: “everyone needs to be seen, heard, and understood.” Yes, be fully present in your need to be seen, but do so with the people you know and trust – not your professional audience.

If you're interested in a place where you can explore your vulnerable, still-in-process stories, we invite you to explore our community for therapists.