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Being Vulnerable On Your Blog
I started a blog before my current blog. It was January of my senior year of college, and I wrote about 3 posts about what I ate, told no one, and then stopped. A blog is really just a diary until you let people read it.
Finally, almost a year later, I decided I was ready for real. I had graduated college, started my own life, and had accepted my past. I wanted to be part of the community that helped me recover from my own eating disorder and to show other girls that a healthy, happy, normal life is possible. The first thing I wrote was the “My Story” section of Fitting It All In that details my struggles with anorexia and binge eating.
Yep, that made me vulnerable. But truly, without it, the purpose of my blog was lost. If I wanted to help others and have them relate to me, I had to tell them how I was truly feeling.
I’ve never been shy and in general am an over-sharer. I LOVE getting to know people and finding out their little quirks and favorite things, so opening up on my blog isn’t that difficult for me. It was scary at first because blogs are SO public, but after a few posts I was comfortable sharing my life.
It’s my most real, vulnerable, emotional posts that I like the most. They help me deal with whatever is going on in my life, and somehow there are always tons of readers that are going through the exact same thing. The posts aren’t always happy, and they surely don’t always portray me as a ray of confident, successful sunshine, but they are the real me and it’s important to have that authenticity on my blog.
So if you’re considering opening up on your blog, here are some things to consider:
HOW to be vulnerable:
1. First and most importantly, you don’t HAVE to open up about personal or sensitive topics on your blog. As I learned at the 2011 Healthy Living Summit, “Your Blog Is Your Castle” and you have the right to choose what is on it. Plenty of bloggers keep things light and purposely don’t bring controversial or emotional topics into play. They are great blogs too! It just depends on what your focus and purpose is.
2. You have to be READY. You have to be confident enough in yourself that you can take the feedback that you WILL get, both positive and negative. A blog is public and that means your friends, family, co-workers, and exes could all find and read your posts, so make sure you’re okay with having what you put out there read by anyone.
3. Write from your heart. Lots of my most vulnerable posts are the type that just flow out of my fingers because I’m so emotional and need to get my feelings out. People relate to the things you say when you write from your core, so don’t think you need to edit your feelings.
4. It won’t be all the time. Not every post has to be some deep saga on life as we know it. You can write posts only when you have some genuine feelings to discuss, or you can write about other things until something comes up. Don’t force it.
WHY to be vulnerable:
1. It’s therapy. Writing things down helps you recognize and evaluate your feelings. Some people really enjoy writing as a coping method, while some would prefer to listen to music, talk to a counselor, or go for a run. I actually enjoy all of the above, but have found that having to organize my thoughts in words helps to put them into perspective.
2. It makes people understand. Until I opened up about my past eating struggles on my blog and began writing about my feelings and daily life, lots of my friends and family didn’t quite “get” me. Almost immediately I felt more at ease because it was like I just explained myself to hundreds of people at once. It brought us closer together and definitely enhanced my relationships because there were no longer any secret questions or sensitive topics that were being avoided.
3. It holds you accountable. Writing about struggles with food, a tricky relationship, or wanting to make changes in your life makes those issues known to the world and therefore it is more likely that you’ll work to fix what’s bothering you.
4. The support! Some people may respond negatively, but when you get those comments from reader saying they totally understand or want to offer advice, it’s worth it. I absolutely love hearing that something I wrote resonated with someone.