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Should You Share All Of Yourself?

It is popular in the personal development arena to share with others your mission/life purpose/deepest desire.  The thought being that if you share this information with others you are holding yourself accountable for actually carrying it out.

This is opposed to others who believe that your mission/life purpose/deepest desire should actually be kept private, in order to protect it from the (negative) thoughts and feelings of others.

“It also means not to look at yourself through the eyes of the world, or allow yourself to be influenced by the opinions and criticisms of others.  A helpful way to maintain that state of self-referral is to keep your desires to yourself; do not share them with anyone else unless they share the exact same desires that you have and are closely bonded with you.”

The above quote is from The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra, which was something that I read several years ago now.  This quote is something that I often think about as I read articles that encourage sharing some deep aspect of yourself with others.

So, I thought I’d turn this question to you all:

Do you believe that it’s best to share your mission/life purpose/deepest desire with others in order to make a public committment to them or should you keep them private, in order to protect them?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

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18 Comments

  1. What Chopra’s arguing both for and against is “Social Proof.” If you publish your heart’s desire and find others share it, it is encouraging. There will be those that attack, but you will never find social support without the risk that sharing your desires will attract. And yes, it’s totally true that there is an element of accountability that comes with publishing your goals–that’s another element of Social Proof. I’m so smart 🙂 because I’ve been reading all about how we influence each other in “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini.

    Jay Wigley’s last blog post..jaywigley: @JessicaWigley has everything I want a little of, and I have everything she wants a little of. When that’s fixed, we’ll fight for balance.

  2. Hi Amanda,

    You ask a very good question. I’ve read in many books as well that we should keep our dreams to ourselves. I think perhaps two factors are at play.

    1) How easily discouraged we are – if other’s comments easily get us down, we are better off keeping our dreams and goals to ourselves.

    2) Whether publicity is necessary to our purpose – if our mission is to live a good life, we can keep this to ourselves. If our mission however is to help others live a good life, then we have to go public to a certain degree, to lead the way.

    My thoughts at this point. I still struggle over how much to reveal on my blog, so I certainly don’t have all the answers.

    Daphne’s last blog post..Attaining Spiritual Peace

  3. That’s a tough one. I think one problem with sharing your purpose is that others just won’t understand it. They can’t see the world through your eyes so they can’t actually comprehend what it is that you are sharing. Language cannot communicate exactly what we feel. It is a flawed medium for communicating messages but it is the best thing that we have got.

    Tom Maurer | Simple and Spiritual’s last blog post..How To Reclaim Your Childlike Passion For Life

  4. Nice post. Being in midst of a midlife crisis myself, it’s very pertinent for me. On the one hand, actually pursuing my dreams is not something I can do all in the privacy of my own mind. It has to be manifested in my actions, at some point, noticeable to other people. The people close to me deserve to understand why I am doing what I am doing, e.g. why I’m spending my time and/or money they way I am instead of on the things I used to do with them. And I may need their support, to help get me through the vulnerable period between letting go of the old and realizing the new.

    On the other hand, if I don’t feel that they support me in the pursuit of my dreams, I might need to pull back. I stopped answering my Dad’s phone calls a while ago, because I was too vulnerable to hear that I was being irresponsible and needed to get a job, from him. I’m not happy with that state of affairs, though, because we love each other, and he’s an old man … what if it gets too late to reconcile?

    I think the solution, or at least the first step, will be to write a long heartfelt e-mail to let him know how I feel … why what I’m going through is important to me, my thoughts and feelings about it, and how, in my mid-process vulnerability, his reaction hurts me. I think often we communicate too LITTLE, rather than too much. If all he knows is what is visible on the surface, my actions and not what lies underneath them, then he is going to react to my actions and not to my dreams and plans and emotions. Then again, by my actions — my persistence in the face of obstacles and oppostion — I am demonstrating to him how important the goal is to me.

    A spouse would be a whole other level of relationship, an interdependence that demands more honesty and sensitive engagement. If I were married, I think it would be a matter of putting my husband’s (and children’s, as the case may be) needs and priorities (e.g. security or social acceptance) on a par with the fulfillment of my own dreams. I think a spouse would be more supportive if I made clear that I was not willing to pursue my dreams at his (unacceptable) expense. He doesn’t need to understand my dream to be supportive, he just needs to understand how important it is to me, and to be reassured that I won’t run over him like a freight train to get to my dream.

    Regina’s last blog post..More good news, in brief

  5. Amanda,

    Wow…this is a pretty powerful question and I’m finding myself having to really think about this. On the one hand, I think its good to make some intentions public because it can increase accountability and can lead to connections with others of like mind. On the other hand, some intentions are made between the person and whatever higher power he or she believes in and these I don’t think need to be shared. I’ll have to think on this some more. Thanks :~)

    Sara’s last blog post..The Persistence of One Squirrel

  6. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Jay – Thanks for your comment! Yeah, interesting point about the response you get from others making you feel better or worse about your own dreams. Certainly, if others are supportive you would feel great, and I guess the risk you take if you want that support is generating unsupportive feedback too. There’s always a trade off 🙂

    Hi Daphne – Thanks for these ideas. I like your 2nd point. If your dream has to do with doing something publicly, I guess you are going to have to tell others sooner or later, and hope that you have the strength to hold it together when some people aren’t supportive.

    Hi Tom – Yeah, good point. I think particularly if your dream is something that others may find odd or far fetched that it can be hard to find others who understand what you are doing. But, you bring up a really interesting idea about how it is each one of us views the world. Maybe our dreams sometimes seem so strange to others because they just don’t see as we do. Thanks 🙂

  7. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Regina – I find your idea about communicating too little interesting. It really is unclear by our actions what are true motivations are sometimes. It’s certainly easy to misinterpret another’s actions. Maybe for those close to us, a little deeper explanation is required. And, like you said, our loved ones don’t necessarily have to understand they just have to support – easier said than done I guess! Thanks 🙂

    Hi Sara – You bring up a couple of good ideas. One is finding others of like mind – that is really powerful when you have a dream that you want to realize. Also, the idea of making an intention between you and a higher power. Maybe no one else needs to know! You’ve given me a couple more things to think about – thanks.

    Hi Christopher – I hadn’t thought about it like that – having different reactions for certain situations. Thanks.

  8. Amanda, this is a great question (as always)!

    I’m a lot more inclined to share my mission/life purpose/deepest desire nowadays, not because I’m invulnerable to what others may say (I’m not) – but because I believe that others can learn from my successes and failures.

    My recently adopted approach is: IF others can benefit from it, then why not share?

    Michael’s last blog post..Who Are You?

  9. Hi Amanda – Another great question.

    I don’t mind sharing some of my goals with others, however, I am careful who I share some of them with as I find if others think what I truly want affects them or our relationship, they’re more apt to discourage me. A lot of times, I’ll make up my mind (to make a change or whatever) and then make an announcement.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..About Me – The Most Important Page On Our Blog

  10. I like to share my story as one of the main parts of my site. For too long I’d failed to take action, create something, take a risk. I’m not overjoyed that this was the case, but I am happy that I’ve started something. I also want to explore action and find out why we have good ideas but fail to take action and simply sit in idle.

    As for sharing all of myself, there’s a certain amount of personal life which should remain personal. It’s your choice!

    Cheers,
    Tristan.

    Tristan | The New Man Of Action’s last blog post..Living without a life: remedying regret with action

  11. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Michael – That’s an interesting idea. Revealing your purpose or mission so that others may benefit from your story is certainly very helpful to others. And, in a way, when you have an intention to help, maybe that helps you to have a thicker skin when it comes to criticisms. Thanks for adding this idea. 🙂

    Hi Barbara – Yes, I think I tend to agree that with some people it’s best to make a decision and then let them know you are following through on that decision. I’ve used that myself a couple of times. 😉

    Hi Tristan – Thanks for your comment! For a blogger, certainly you need to be willing to share some of yourself with others, but maybe there are still things that are best kept to yourself. At one end of the spectrum, there is sharing too much, but on the other hand, if you share too little no one knows anything about you!

  12. Hi Amanda,

    This is a wonderful question. When I read the post a few days ago, I was not sure about how I would answer. I have read the books and listened to the “smart ones” talk about the importance of being open with our dreams and feelings. After a bit of noodling this around, I think it has more to do with the individual rather than a set standard. I’m sure that this helps some stick to their goals once someone else knows. Others might set themselves up for feeling immense failure when they don’t reach a certain goal making it worse.

    I have learned the hard way that I work best if I hold back these things until I have worked out the details myself and perhaps not even then. I guess it comes from too many bad experiences. Like so many things, this is a great topic to reflect on since I am sure the right answer is within us.

    Namaste

    Roger’s last blog post..Choices

  13. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Roger – I absolutely agree that whatever we need to do will come from inside of us. Different people have different comfort levels with revealing parts of themselves, and maybe when it gets down to it what matters is if you feel sharing would be advantageous to you or not. 🙂 Thanks.

  14. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Positively Present – Thanks for your comment (and for the compliment)! That’s a great question – do we ever really share all of ourselves even when we intend to? Maybe that will be another post! 🙂

  15. What an excellent question for making one think. I believe firmly that gut instincts are one way of God, or whomever your higher power may be, guides us–shows us our own unique path.

    Based on that and years of experience, I pick and choose what to share and with whom to share it. If you are in tune with your core self and picking up on other variables, you just somehow know by the energy others send out or the general atmosphere present what to share and what to hold.

  16. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Karen – I very much agree. Listening to the message that’s coming from inside of you is always a wise choice. And it’s one way (a good one!) to determine how much you should share. Thanks. 🙂

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