The joys of keeping some things to yourself

Chess board with roses in article about sharing

A little while ago, my manager asked everyone in the team to send her a song. She wanted to bundle our songs into a big playlist on Spotify. Happily, I sent her one of my favourite songs, Belong by Tim Chadwick (which I have shared in this post). It is a beautiful song that means a lot to me. In fact, I didn’t even hesitate to pick that song. However, my manager quickly proceeded to make fun of the song, calling it oversentimental. She is a very sarcastic person, which makes coming to work an absolute joy. Normally. Because on this occasion, I felt saddened that she didn’t share the same enthusiasm about Belong. Her remark somehow tainted the song for me. As if it was less beautiful now that someone had expressed their disdain about it. And this made me think. Should we really be sharing all our favourite things with the world?

A sharing world

We live in a sharing world. Our travel memories no longer live in photo albums. Our bodies no longer get shared with our partners alone. Food no longer simply serves as nourishment. Instead, these ordinary and often intimate aspects of our lives are freely shared with the whole world through our social media platforms. And I am not here to bash that. Although there are problems with oversharing and comparison anxiety, sharing my thoughts through this blog has been one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. It is freeing and exhilarating to share something you have created with an engaging audience. Whether that is a beautiful plate of food, a meticulously groomed body or an inspiring story. Our sharing society has done us a lot of good. But perhaps – and I am thinking out loud here – there are some things that we can better keep close to our chest.

The ordinarity of the little things

I am thinking about that plate of pasta that doesn’t look Instagrammable, but that tastes like that summer you have had in Rome when you were 16. The trip you took to your grandma’s little village, that made you feel more alive than all the fancy city breaks you have been on recently.  The rom-com that doesn’t appeal to the sophisticated taste of your audience, but that you have watched more times than you can remember. And that song you play on repeat, even if it is a little sentimental. There are so many things in our life that give us incredible joy. Joy that is personal and ordinary. That doesn’t fit into the sharing moulds. Joy that is enjoyed better when we keep it close to our chest.

A little checklist

Don’t get me wrong. I am a big proponent for owning every part of yourself. For being proud to listen to oversentimental music and going to Italy over and over again, even if it means you run out of travel tips to share. I love it when bloggers share their guilty pleasures and people on Instagram share their no-makeup selfies and dimpled bums. And I am no stranger to sharing vulnerable stories and questionable taste myself. But I also realise that I don’t have to share everything, whether offline or online, to receive pleasure or meaning from something. So I have devised a little checklist for sharing intimate parts of myself with the outside world. Now I try asking myself the following questions before sharing:

  • Would I mind having to justify myself over this?
  • Can I take potential criticism about this?
  • Am I offering the receiver something valuable by sharing this?
  • Do I mind my boss seeing this? (In case of online sharing)

If the answer isn’t an unequivocal yes to all questions, then I am becoming more and more inclined not to share it. Particularly for the ordinary things. The things that give me so much joy, but that might be just a little tainted when shared with someone who doesn’t experience the same joy from these things.

Because being able to find private joy in the ordinary things might just be the secret to life. (Or truly not caring what other people think, but I am still working on that one.)

Are you a sharer or do you like to keep some things to yourself?

4 Comments

  1. March 22, 2019 / 3:20 pm

    That part about ‘instagrammable’ pasta versus Rome memories genuinely gave me goosebumps – can we please show that line to every single person on social media?! It couldn’t be more needed these days, as i think it’s so easy to #lifethegram and forget who you actually ARE.

    I recently began a “silver linings sunday” series on my blog, but decided from the outset that it WASN’T going to be a weekly thing. I will likely share one a month, but for the others it’s between me and my 5-year journal! It’s so important to hold onto your sense of self, especially in a world that wants you to be like everyone else. Thank you for writing this, I’m so happy to have found your blog! xxxx

    Bumble and Be

    • Lizzyfied
      Author
      March 24, 2019 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment. <3 I will have to check out your series now!

  2. March 24, 2019 / 1:57 pm

    This is such a great reminder.. I’ve been trying to spend less time on social media lately, and more time on my writing – and reading long-form again too. These things also involve sharing, but I think it’s easier to be more intentional and selective in a longer blog post than on something like Instagram stories that feels like it should be updated every moment..
    Dee recently posted…A Slow Travel Guide to San DiegoMy Profile

    • Lizzyfied
      Author
      March 26, 2019 / 6:53 pm

      I like how you said blogging feels like a more intentional and selective way of sharing. That is exactly how I feel!

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.