Too hot, too cold, or just right…

A coaching friend of mine recently re-worked the children’s tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except her three bears went by the name of Bear All, Bare All and Wisdom Bear.

I know that I’m Bear All by nature, and am working to be more Wisdom Bear. I’ve tried on Bare All to see how it fits but, other than with my therapist or a tiny number of close and trusted individuals, it doesn’t. Even with them, I seek not to be a burden, nor to cross the line. I’m largely a what-you-see-is-what-you-get person, but I’m clear that everything has a right time and place.

Wisdom Bear is, of course, the middle ground – the baby bear in this story of just rightness. Wisdom Bear doesn’t carry their load alone, but neither do they vomit each and every fact about themselves and their life to all and sundry. And I really appreciate Wisdom Bear.

I not only work in the same arena as my friend, but have also long been someone that people talk to. Despite knowing this, I still get surprised. The other day, during a networking meeting, one of my fellow networkers asked to book a 30 minute ‘getting to know you chat’ with me. Except, after it finished, and despite it actually lasting for 1.5 hours, she still knew absolutely nothing about me.

She demonstrated during our 1.5 hours that she was a Bare All, crying and unloading onto me all the woes of her life. All this despite not being anyone I’ve ever spoken to or engaged with before. Of course, I listened, was supportive, sympathetic and empathetic, but I was decidedly peeved that she’d booked the appointment under false pretenses. When I finally got over feeling too mean to ask the question of the network’s host, it turns out I’m not the first one in the networking group she’s done this to.

Another coaching friend also shared a recent Bare All experience of a quite different sort – one that was a repeat of something I’d experienced three years before. This was an X rated experience, so no details here, although I will say the person has been reported to the professional therapeutic bodies and the police. Unfortunately he’s clever – there’ve been three years between my experience and hers – he’s still doing it, and getting away with it, and to plenty more than just the two of us.

Now, I know the examples of Bare All I’ve given here are pretty extreme – and I accept they’re more to be expected when you’re in my line of work. But, as bloggers we mine our life and our experiences for blogging fodder. I don’t share details of my client work with anyone else, let alone in my blog – but as these two were not clients, I felt able to do so. What also has to be said is that as readers of blogs, we doubtless chose who we participate with based on many factors, including how that blogger handles the Bear All, Bare All and Wisdom Bear question.

While I think it’s unlikely anyone will disagree with my categorisation of these experiences I’ve described as Bare All (although I’m happy to be told it if you do), of course we each have a different idea of where that line is drawn, and in where we draw the line.

Where do your draw the line in what you share and what you don’t? Do you have firm guidelines or specific exclusions?

© Debra Carey, 2023

25 thoughts on “Too hot, too cold, or just right…

Add yours

  1. Interesting question. I eventually learned that there are very few people who are discreet with what they’re told, and that not only does nearly everything you say get passed along but also passed along incorrectly, either through facts or interpretation. As a result, I don’t share nearly as much as I might. Also, I find that some people only want to talk about themselves. I now limit my time with those people. I think I must fall in the Bear All category!

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  2. Ha! Welcome to Bear All Jane! It may not be the most emotionally healthy bear to be, but it’s WAY better than Bare All (in my not so humble opinion, of course 😀 )

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  3. Is there a multiple personality Bear? Because I think I’ve been all. I love stories, which means sometimes I might encourage a Bare All to tell theirs, or I might be a Bare All telling mine. But I am also judgy AF and super intolerant of stupidity and I know that shows on my Bear All face. I like to think I am getting wiser and more compassionate, but achieving full Wisdom Bear? LOL.

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  4. I’m so sorry about both of your Bare All experiences, especially the second one. I suppose I think we’re likely all some of each bear at different times and in different situations. I definitely regret how much I’ve bared at times; I have tended to be too trusting at times. When I was young, I didn’t understand how many different kinds of people there are in the world, and some definitely not very nice. I’ve also been a Bear All, to the detriment of some important relationships (like, you know, marriages–note the plural, there). I’m working on being a Wisdom Bear, too–I think that’s probably going to be a life-long work in progress.

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  5. Yeah, Wisdom Bear is probably a smug little beast in reality Autumn 😀 😀 😀

    I suspect we’re all made up of a little bit of each bear – either at different points in our lives, or with different people. I had to learn how to keep my thoughts off my face; my poor daughter inherited that trait from me and has had to learn the same skill. But sometimes it is hard to do… and sometimes I don’t even bother to try.

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  6. Totally get you there Rita. I’m pretty much an open book, but am learning to be more careful about what information I allow out, and to whom. That said, there’s nothing I’ve said or done that I wouldn’t do again (in the same circumstances), so there’s not a lot of regret on the stuff I’ve done, only on stuff I wasn’t brave enough to do. But, yes, there are a few occasions when I wish I’d held back, and other times when I wished I’d acted on the desire to say more, and to ask more.

    As you say, life-long work in progress. I expect (and hope) to die still learning and growing, otherwise what’s the point?

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  7. There is little I don’t share, except things told to be in confidence, and sex stories. I’ve been dancing around this topic for awhile…

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  8. Autumn, you win the “that made me *actually* snort out my morning tea” prize! Great T-shirt, I shall share it with Himself, for he surely needs one too!

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  9. I saw that we were talking about broadly the same topic this week (I’ve yet to catch up on my commenting). I also find where the line gets drawn a fascinating one. I absolutely love that saying writers have that people need to treat them well or risk ending up in books they’re writing. Rose Tremain wrote that she couldn’t bring herself to publish her autobiography before her mother died as it felt wrong to talk of the emotional harm her mother did to her while she was still alive, and I’m in the middle of writing a family memoir and wondering whether I’ll fall into her court, or not. I won’t attempt to second guess myself until it’s actually ready, as I find you never know – for certain – what you will or won’t do until the decision is right in front of you.

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  10. As long as what’s being said is truthful, I’m all for telling your side of the story. If someone doesn’t like it they can write a counter piece

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  11. Ha, I’m with Autumn. I think I might have a little of all the personalities, depending on who I’m with at the time. Of course, politeness and discretion are always paramount. My wife recently went out for coffee with someone she had only recently met — it was two hours and the woman never asked her a single question. Definitely Bare All, I guess! – Marty

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  12. I naturally lean more toward Bear All, but am making my way to Wisdom Bear. I’ve never been a Bare All. Some things are mine and mine alone.

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  13. I’m a reserved person so I don’t share much personal information about myself. I feel safer that way. And before you say it, I know, I write a public personal blog but I limit what topics I’ll discuss on it.

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  14. I wonder which bear I am. I certainly have traits of Bear All. I have tried to break those traits and I set much better boundaries than I used to. I also share traits with Bare All at times, but mostly on the blog with limited people coming by. I don’t think either is that unhealthy provided you have healthy boundaries. The Bare All’s in your post clearly do not have good boundaries. You know, they make it sound like a professional who has violated those boundaries will be dealt with by the professional organizations as soon as they’re reported. I suppose it’s a he said/she said situation but still, he had two reports against him now, at least?

    I suppose I aim for Wisdom Bear. I don’t know that I get there, particularly when I find myself handing out advice to the Bear Alls and Bare Alls in my life. I don’t think that is a good role for Wisdom Bear. What do you think Wisdom Bear’s role is. I don’t think you wrote about it and I don’t want to misinterpret it.

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  15. True Marty, I think it would be lying if we said we were only ever one type of bear *all* of the time, it’s just there’s a leaning towards one of the three. My reaction to Gorgeous having that type of experience, especially if it was that recently, is to shake my head, to want to shake the person concerned, and to say that sadly it was something I experienced in similar circumstances. I hope Gorgeous was able to laugh at the experience and know to set boundaries with the person going forward.

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  16. The way of enlightenment leads to Wisdom Bear – that’s for sure Christie 🙂 Bare All is a funny old place. I wasn’t as open with my first counsellor as I needed to be, but I still believe there’s stuff that you don’t have to share with everyone. I believe I share my few Bare All moments out, to make sure there’s no one person is overly burdened. But also so that no one person gets bored with my mithering or steam of consciousness! 😉


  17. Mark, I was discussing this with some friends at a professional training weekend, and they believed that bloggers were likely to be Bare All, whereas that’s not my blogging experience. I know they’re out there, but I’d say they’re few & far between. But yeah to grinning whilst bearing all 🙂

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  18. Ally, this chimes with what I just said to Mark. My non-blogging friends assume that bloggers are Bare All types, whereas my experience is that this is rare. I don’t see any conflict between what you do and who you are *at all*. There’s always much to talk about without having to get down and dirty with it – in my (clearly) not so humble opinion anyway 😀

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  19. The X-rated Bare All was someone who uses the common practice of therapists to offer a free discovery call. All they need do in those circumstances is to provide a name and phone number or email address – the latter being more common now with video calling being the norm. They then mis-use that trust to behave inappropriately in that space. But the number can be a pay-as-you-go unregistered SIMS, and the email address need not be anything other than a generic one, which make it hard (if not impossible, to trace). Many of those I’ve worked with have one or other of these, and I’ve had no issues with them at all. He’s done it to more than two of us, it’s just that I recently met this woman who was a recent victim. And it may not be the same person, there may be more than one man who thinks this is entertaining – sad to say.

    My friend defined Wisdom Bear as the “just right” bear, without going into swathes of detail. I imagined it as a Zen Bear, who didn’t burden others, nor allowed themselves to become burdened, but I suspect it could also exclude them handing out advice – so you & I wouldn’t be allowed in! 😀 Professional me doesn’t give advice, but personal me can certainly do so!

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  20. I agree that you do share your life a lot, but it’s in no way cringe making or uncomfortable reading, which is what I feel the biggest problem with Bare All is.

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  21. Yes, it is indeed. I’ve got something in drafts at the moment. I’m still not sure if it’ll see the light of day, or whether I’ll go with just feeling better having typed it out.

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