Why is it that when we get a small bit of good news, we often feel like we want to keep it to ourselves rather than tell others?
I recently made it to the next stage in a job interview. My feelings were complicated.
Firstly, overwhelming relief. I’d read the opening line of the email preview which was ambiguous enough that the bottom dropped out of my stomach. When I read the full email, I felt like a bucket of water had just been dumped over my head. I made it to the next stage.
Second, hope. I’m excited about this job opening. It might really work for me. It might be exactly what I need, what I want. I’m hopeful it’s going to take me where I want to go.
Third, a desire to share. I wanted to tell people my good news, tell them I’d ticked another box, tell them I might be on my way to a very good thing.
Fourth, and finally, the resignation that I would probably keep this bit of news to myself.
Why do we keep our good news a secret?
I’m an enthusiastic, open, caring person. I like to share my life with others — I’m a blogger, after all. My ups, downs, and all-arounds are frequently on display for a whole lot of people to see. When something happens to me, my first instinct is often to call my mom to tell her, whether it’s winning $2 on a lottery ticket, seeing a cute cat cross the road, or if someone rude cut in line at the grocery store.
Yet when I made it to the next stage in this job interview, I held back from telling my friends, my family. I didn’t want to let other people know. And you know why?
I was afraid.
I was a little afraid I’d come across as though I was bragging. Like maybe I thought I had it in the bag, or maybe like I thought my midway box-check was a bigger deal than it actually was.
Worse, I was afraid that I’d make it to this interview but fail to make it past the next one. Afraid that people would tell me not to get too excited yet. Afraid I’d get myself even more excited and for nothing. Afraid that I’d somehow trick them into thinking I was successful when actually I was setting myself up to fail.
I held back from sharing my small success, my stepping stone on the way to a new career, purely through fear. And I think I was doing myself, and those I didn’t want to share with, a disservice.
I needed to trust my friends and family.
Here’s the thing about the people I love: They love me, too. They support me and have faith in me and think I can do what I set out to achieve. The people I love have this resounding belief that I deserve all the good things that might come my way.
There’s a little insidious voice inside my head that says, What if you tell them and then you fail? All I can say to that is that I’ll tell them that, too, if it comes to that. Sharing good lets me spread a little of my own personal joy around. Sharing the bad makes the burden a little easier to carry. That’s the benefit of a community, a network of friends and family who can help you through the bumps in your road.
Little triumphs might not be big wins, or huge successes. They might just be one step along the way to what turns out to be a failure, or what might turn out to be a success. Telling other people has absolutely no effect on the outcome. It just bolsters me a little along the way.
Sharing good things is a circle.
I had to think of it like this: if my partner, or my sister, or my friend, told me that things were going well in any of their pursuits, whether romantic, career-based, or even just that they’d taken out the trash? I’d want to know.
And if it turned out that they didn’t get the job, didn’t get the date, didn’t follow through on their Marie Kondo plans to clear out their home? I’d still want to know. I love hearing about their triumphs and their failures and supporting them through both. And I have to believe that they’re the same for me.
Zulie Rane is a reader and a writer who believes in the power to change the world through the written word. You can find her writing on ZulieRane.com, posting selfies and art on Instagram at @zulierane and tweeting bad puns on Twitter at @zulierane.
Image courtesy of Simon Maage.