Is this you?

Do you expose your life on social media? Do you show off your family and possessions on social media or to friends and work colleagues? When you meet a new partner, do you tell them all about your past relationships and why they didn’t work? Do you share the intimate details of your sex life with your friends? Do you discuss personal health issues with your friends or work colleagues? Do you discuss your partner with your friends, family members or work colleagues?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, then chances are you are a believer in keeping your life open. Many are doing so today, particularly young people looking to build their personal brand on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. They bare it all – their relationships, their marriage, their sex life, their children, their homes, their cars, their gold watches, their clothes, their shoes, their partying, their holidaying, their weight loss journeys and so on – all things aimed at showing the world how glamourous and successful their lives are.

If you have chosen to lead an open life, think about it again as this may not always be a good idea. There should be personal limits to how much you can share and discretion about what you share and with who. Transparency has its pluses and minuses but in this day where access to social media is wide and varied and information travelling at supersonic speed, the minuses may be more. Shedding light on every detail of your life exposes you and may put you or your family members at risk. Plus, what you share now may come to hurt you later in life.

I have seen young people share unimaginable things about their lives and while this may sound exciting and uplifting at this point in their lives, it is something they may come to regret later in life when they want, for example, to settle down with a family, or run for elective office, or try to clinch a senior position in the corporate world. The children, whose pictures they so liberally share on social media today, will one day grow up and they may blame them for how their lives turns out.

Whether on social media or in relationships, oversharing is never a good thing. You need to censor what you share and also have a good reason for sharing. If the reason you are doing it is to be appreciated and loved, then definitely you have a low self-esteem and are looking to ‘others’ for validation.

Openness in our private lives undermines our confidence. While being straightforward and honest in every part of your life is a highly prized personal quality, you can be honest and upfront without openness. While some believe that relationships can’t flourish and we can’t feel truly at ease if we hide things from those around us, this is really not true. Instead of indiscriminate openness, tailored honesty is the way to go.

It is common for people to share publicly details about everything going on in their lives, from their health to their love lives, but this is not always a good thing. It is particularly harmful if you overshare with your work colleagues. We spend a lot of time in the office and sometimes socialise with our colleagues after work, but do you want to be negotiating your pay rise with the person who knows about your husband’s poor performance in bed or your cheating wife? Will you feel comfortable sharing an office with the person you have shared about your recurring STD?

Let down your barriers, if you must, but just be more considerate before you do so. Ask yourself why you would want to share a picture of you having an intimate moment with someone else’s husband? Is it to glorify yourself or hurt that person’s family? And how does this benefit you in the long run? You will be surprised how the world mocks you when you overshare. They will overindulge you with ‘likes’ but in public and in their social gatherings will be talking negatively about you – how vain and insecure you must be to be seeking validation from the public.

Friends and family are there to share our lives with, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell your best friend all the details of your personal life. Think about the consequences of oversharing before you open your mouth. It’s all about boundaries.

Openness in intimate relationships is another problematic area of our lives. While big secrets are unhealthy, your current partner does not need to know about your ex’s performance in bed. When you reveal every detail of your life, you risk skewing the perceptions of you by those you are sharing with and this will, without a doubt, shatter that bit of mystique that can be very healthy in a relationship.

That doesn’t mean you should actively hide anything: if your partner wants to know about every aspect of your life and the kind of relationships you have had before, then share away what is necessary but be careful as this could be used against you. You should certainly not fall under pressure to bare all if you are not comfortable doing so – keeping irrelevant details back won’t affect the quality of your intimacy.

Most relationships experts agree we only really have a duty to share anything that may affect the relationship now such as physical and mental health issues that may recur or money issues, if you have shared finances. Other than that, you are better off focussing on your relationship in the here and now. The only person you need to be 100 per cent transparent with is yourself. Face up to your fears, hopes and motivations as this makes you a better judge of when to share and when to keep quiet, and should help you feel happier in your relationships.