Honestly… sharing the good and the bad

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Permalink

Emily over at Skinny Emmie recently wrote a post about how most of us only share the good stuff. You know… “Been to the gym and did a zillion push-ups.” Or, “Just finished my 20km run.” Or we offer up pics of delicious dinners or healthy treats. Of course there are also the motivating quotes or “Just Do It” type memes.


We rarely share the bad, suggested Emily. “Look, I’ve just eaten an entire cheesecake!” 

I think there are some people who share the bad, but it’s nearly always only bad… and they’re often the people we unfollow on Twitter or ‘hide’ on Facebook. “I’m so depressed.” Or “I’m sitting here crying.” 

I’m all for reaching out for help, but too much maudlin tends to make me cringe.

Having said that, it occurs to me that I’m ridiculously honest. Too much so.

When I was writing my dad’s eulogy (for my brother to read) I had something in there like, “Although he wasn’t perfect, he…..” 

“You can’t say that!” my brother said, “Not at his funeral.” 

I must admit, it really wasn’t a no-brainer to me. It was the truth. Dad would have been the first to admit that he had his faults. In fact, I probably got my flat-out honest approach to life from him.

Sure I’m adept at the white lie, “No, you look great in those white stretch pants.” Or, “I really love your new (deadshit) boyfriend. His artwork shows so much potential.” But, when it comes to me, I tend to figure I should just lay myself bare and the world (at large) can deal with that.

I like to think I’m pretty honest in my blog posts. There’s stuff I hold back (which may surprise you!) but I feel compelled to be up-front with my thoughts and feelings. I’m big on confession (in a non-Catholic church-going way). I NEED to admit to my wrongs and my foibles. I’m happy to wonder aloud if not joining a gym is really about the: lack of classes of interest; my financial situation; or an apathy which sees me preferring to loll about my apartment.

Similarly, if I’m making unhealthy food choices and going ‘off the rails’ which I did recently, I feel like I need to admit to that rather than hide / gloss over the fact. Otherwise, what’s the point? I might as well be writing fiction!

Honesty isn’t always a good thing. I’ve had one or two comments (here) on my eating habits which have been a tad hurtful. But, I realise that I’m the one putting it out there… I can’t expect to admit to something and not deal with the repercussions.

What about you? Do you share the good and the bad?
Do you share at all?

PS. Emily’s post was actually about all of the other stuff that goes on in the background: that we (and our lives) are not the sum of what we share; and our existence isn’t defined by the big things. It just got me thinking about sharing in general!

  • Emmie
    May 22, 2013

    I’m glad the post helped you think, and I’m glad you mentioned how you see people who ONLY mention the bad. It goes both ways, but the honesty really comes in the middle, and it’s the hardest to post about (as you know). The honesty also brings out the vultures – some of the things I read this weekend written about me and that post in particular were astounding. At this point it doesn’t bother me – damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    I really appreciate you sharing the good and the bad. It’s all about authenticity. Thanks for sharing!

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      I think it’s the authenticity in your approach that keeps me coming back as well Em. There’s a middle ground there for me too. I do overshare and I am honest, but I need to also keep some things sacred.

  • Char
    May 22, 2013

    That’s why I like to read your blog. It’s not all unicorns farting rainbows. There’s reality in there. I hope that I’m in the ‘real’ category too. Yeah sure I’ll say I just finished my 20k run and I feel great – and that’s because I do. But I also like to add the not so glamorous bits. The bush toilets. The spoon-licking to the point of sugar comas. The urges to do awful things to my long-suffering husband. The only thing I try not to share too much of is the personal stuff of my kids. I try to respect their privacy – sometimes.

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      I always enjoy your toilet stories Char. I have to confess it’s a bit of a fear of mine so I like that you’re so blunt (and real) about it.

  • Nikki
    May 22, 2013

    I know what you mean. I think I am too honest with my thoughts sometimes. But then when I started my blog I said that I would share the good the bad and the ugly. Luckily so far the good outweighs the bad.

    Great post.

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      Thanks Nikki and I’ve been following your journey (mainly) via Facebook. You’re doing so well – even if this week’s loss had a bit of *ahem* help!

      And yes, like I said in the post, if we aren’t being honest we’re just writing fiction. (Although I would like to write a novel….) 😉

  • Jo Tracey
    May 22, 2013

    I tend to the fictional side of the truth…I try & look for the sunshine, but often that means faking it- to myself & my readers…

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      Oh Jo… I wouldn’t have said that. You don’t write about really personal stuff, but you always seem to write from the heart.

  • Liz
    May 22, 2013

    Hi Deb,
    I’m pretty much the same as you – I try and strike the balance – between the times that suck and the times that are great. Writing during suckful times is quite therapeutic! And I hate it when people don’t tell the truth to an extent.

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      True Liz. I know it’s a challenge for someone like you – who’s also in a position of some authority in terms of health and fitness – so it’s even more difficult to decide what to reveal!

      I tend to assume people think the worst of me and go from there! 😉

  • Jess
    May 22, 2013

    I struggle with finding the right balance of sharing. I tend to not share rather then share too much of the ‘bad’ particularly if it involves someone else. Not because I want to pretend it is all perfect but I don’t want to make the bad worse by ‘airing my dirty laundry’.

    I read a post where the blogger mentioned she had had difficult times with her marriage and I found it refreshing. Marriage is sochallenging at times and it was the first time id seen in admitted. The fake perfect life makes me feel a little insecure about my own.

    I like your honesty, makes your blog so much more readable.

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      Thanks Jess. I mostly avoid writing about my family unless I talk to them first. And… on that front it’s rarely bad but I did write about a conflict I’d had with my brother re his reaction to me not taking his advice. I tried – I hope – in that case to be balanced and recognise both of our foibles (plus, as siblings we know how to push each other’s buttons!).

      I don’t read a lot of parenting/family type blogs (as a non parent) but enjoy those that share the good with the bad.

      PS. I was at a social event the other night when someone started telling my friend and I that her marriage was under some strain. We were shocked as we’d only just met her, but we found her honesty very refreshing!

  • Vanessa @ babblingbandit.me
    May 22, 2013

    I’m way too honest. Whinge all the time. But that’s part of my schtick. Honest, raw, authentic. I think if I wrote about happiness and light all the time people would pull me up for not being truthful and they would be right in doing so. V.

    • Debbish
      May 22, 2013

      I really like the honesty in your blog Vanessa. I like that you share your backstory without letting it define who you are today and without clinging onto it.

      And yes… I whinge too, though I think it’s part of who I am as well. Hopefully I do it light-heartedly and framed in a ‘what can I learn from this?’ way!!!


  • Kek
    May 30, 2013

    We always relate better to people who show their human side. And people with a sense of humour. So my theory is, if I share some of my more spectacular stupid moments and failures, my readers won’t think: “Man! What a PITA she is – so bloody perfect… boooor-ing!”

    We all have bad days (or weeks), and I prefer to tell it like it is. As long as that’s not all the time.

  • Julia
    June 4, 2013

    I think you have a good mix of happy truth and sad truth on your blog, Deb. There are a lot more people out there struggling to lose weight than ‘success’ stories. I think people like to read success/happy stories because it gives them hope. But the truth is is that it is really hard, and there is no shame in the struggle.

    • Debbish
      June 4, 2013

      Thanks Julia and it’s true. There are a lot of people out there struggling to lose weight, or who have lost some but are not yet at goal. As a reader I like that those people know what I’m going through!

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