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Why Your Struggles Aren't a Burden to Others | Eric Neumann | TEDxStanford

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Why Your Struggles Aren't a Burden to Others | Eric Neumann | TEDxStanford

Overcoming the Fear of Opening Up

  • Many people pretend to be okay when they are not, fearing that their problems will burden others or that they will be judged.
  • Research shows that most people appreciate being trusted and asked for advice, and they don't see it as a burden to hear about others' problems.
  • People tend to underestimate how much others like them and overestimate how awkward deep conversations will be.
  • Opening up to others can lead to meaningful connections and support, even with strangers.

The Power of Vulnerability

  • The speaker had a long and liberating conversation with a stranger named Julie on a delayed flight.
  • Julie was able to relate to the speaker's worries and share her own stories of loneliness and confusion.
  • The speaker realized that there's no such thing as a person who has it all figured out and that the more specific they were in their stories, the more Julie was able to relate.

Three Principles for Opening Up More

  • Don't dwell on your fears: practice perspective switching and imagine how you would react if someone came to you with their problems.
  • Test your fears against reality: find a safe context to open up a little bit and see how people react.
  • Reflect if your fears were warranted after the fact: consider if it was as bad as you thought or if it was actually fine.

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