Barbara Fish Counselling Services ... helping your life work


Helping Your Life Work

Volume 10, Issue 6

June 2014

While flipping through Netflix the other week, I came across a documentary called, Mortified Nation. Based on a stage show created by David Nadelberg some ten years ago, it documents a number of adults reading the diaries and journals that they kept as youngsters in front of a live audience. As one might imagine, these private thoughts written in secret and often in anguish were never intended for public consumption and yet, here were these individuals, many years later, bearing their souls and their innermost thoughts not only to a roomful of strangers, but also to the public at large who were watching from home. What would once have been considered an unbearable source of embarrassment, pain, and mortification was now being offered aloud, with both reader and listener enjoying and relating to the experience.

The public confessional is not new but it is certainly becoming much more prevalent. Twelve step programs, reality TV, and tell-all autobiographies thrive because they are based on sharing what was once considered personal and private. And while some of the motivation of revealing ourselves may be for the 15 minutes of fame, much of it may be for deeper reasons.

Many of us hold secrets. We think that if the world knew the ‘real us,’ that they would be disappointed at best or reviled at worst. And so we go through life believing that we are the only ones who think, act or feel certain ways and we work hard to avoid exposing ourselves. But what Mortified Nation demonstrates so clearly is that we are more alike than we sometimes admit, that we share the same worries, pains and feelings of insecurities as well as the same hopes and dreams. Just as the authors who read their memoirs experienced a warm response from and a deeper connection with their audience, we may also find that in sharing ourselves with others, we may feel less alone, less ‘crazy’ and more a part of the world. It also allows others to feel closer to us, to connect with us on a deeper level. If we go through life feeling like we need to present only a certain part of ourselves, then we cut off our whole, true self.

Obviously, we do not need to go as far as revealing our deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings to strangers, but there is much to be said about being more open with others and trusting that when we share our experiences, both good and bad with those close to us, that they will not only continue to accept us but perhaps even care about us more. Try it and see what happens.

Wishing you all a wonderful Canada Day and a Happy 4th of July.

Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”

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For more information, or to book an appointment at her Toronto office,
please contact Barbara by telephone at 416-498-1352 or by email at