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Sharing things that give you pleasure is generous and it’s good to be magnanimous, but be careful not to over-share.

I don’t just mean the sin of revealing inappropriate intimacies  (or, ‘too much information’), though that can be horrible for your audience too. There’s another risk in assuming that, because you like/enjoy/admire something, others will share your enthusiasm.

There’s a curious phenomenon involved in sharing. When it’s voluntary sharing gives the sharer pleasure, of course, but there’s a less obvious benefit. When you focus and explore what you like about something by sharing it, you re-awaken your appreciation for it, whereas taking things for granted decreases appreciation.

This seems so obvious that it’s easy to take THAT for granted too.

This is from a post by Greater Good in Action, because it’s good to share (most of the time).*

“You can maximise the benefits of the good things around you by consciously savouring them rather than letting them pass you by unnoticed. This exercise offers one basic way to start savoring the bounty of goodness around you – not by going to some exotic destination, but by paying more careful attention to the sights, smells, and sounds we often neglect.”

*And another thing…

With some things it’s NOT so good to share:

  1. The last sweet/piece of cake (do it anyway, its a more generous act if you don’t want to, and good for your soul).
  2. Detailed descriptions of your dreams (this ranks with enforced viewing of holiday snaps and pictures of ‘you should have been there’ moments).
  3. Tales of woe that you’ve been ‘sharing’ for the past five years (it not only bores your listeners, it also makes them feel powerless, AND it reinforces your own negative feelings. If this is a habit you have, start at the beginning of this post and do as it recommends).
  4. Your attempts to manage your children in public. Instructions, praise and admonishments delivered at high volume for all to hear are tedious at best, and intrusive at worst.

Like most things, sharing requires self-awareness. To do it in the first place we have to think about our own behaviour, and effective monitoring (to avoid over-sharing) is what stops us from sharing things we oughtn’t.

See also

Juliana Breines, Three research-based strategies to help you appreciate this life.

3 Responses to “Sharing Can Bring Joy, Just Don’t Overdo It.”

  1. Lately I’ve come to realize that I am guilty of over-sharing. I’ve also realized that it’s because I really want people to like me, which I had thought I was over. So, back to the drawing board for me – time to re-inspect me – to try and learn why I have reverted to this behavior when if you had asked me I would have replied, “I don’t need people to like me anymore – either they do or they don’t, and that’s ok”. A timely message from you, Barry, once again. There is a word that is used to describe something happening at just the right moment, something that hits you right between the eyes. My brain matter has let me down in remembering it, but this often happens with your messages. Thank you.

  2. Sounds as if you are being a little hard on yourself, in my opinion. Personal qualities are what make us who we are, and just as insight grows with age and maturity, so too should inappropriate concern about how we conduct ourselves. One octogenarian I was listening to recently put it, “You stop caring so much about what other people think”. As Max Bialystock said, in the Producers “If you’ve got it baby, flaunt it” (that’s the original version with Zero Mostel).
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Your octogenarian is right Barry, and I truly thought that I was the same way. Lately though, when I meet someone for the first time that I really like and can relate to easily – that’s when I over-share. I seem to feel that they need to know all about me all at once so they can decide if they like me or not. I over-share truthfully, although a lot of my past was very hurtful – it’s like I need for them to know that I went through bad shit and have come out the other side truly happy and content – but – if I need them to know that much about me and to know that now I am a “good” person, then maybe I’m not as content as I think I am. It’s only with certain people that I do this, those I’d like to be closer to. I’ve only reverted to this behavior recently as I’ve been meeting some like-minded people. Normally I’m very open and happy anyway and I’ll always answer anyone’s questions about me, the past or current life. I just think that maybe I’m being too open…Does any of this make sense??

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