Self-Revealing and Acceptance in an Interactive Group

InteractiveGroupAcceptance is the number one issue for most people in the early stages of an Interactive Group.

You want to reveal yourself, but only if you are going to be accepted by the group. You also want to be able to be yourself. You want to show your anger and your insecurity, your tears and your fears, your strength and your neediness. But it is critical that you be accepted as you are. It is also helpful for you to accept other group members as they are.

It is useful to share things about yourself that you have strong feelings about. Perhaps you need to talk about how you were abused as a child. Perhaps you are gay, or you are going through a painful divorce, or you are having anxiety attacks. Even though sharing these things is not officially “interactive work,” it is important to do, especially in the beginning of group.

It is especially important to share parts of yourself that you feel ashamed of. These are the hardest to reveal, because you expect to be judged and rejected. But they are also the most valuable because you really need to be accepted with these parts of you. You will discover that when you reveal these parts of yourself in an open way, not only are you accepted by the group, but people actually appreciate you more, because of your courage and vulnerability.

This is one of the magic things that happens in an Interactive Group. There is actually something beautiful about a person when they are being open and vulnerable, whether they are showing deep pain or insecurity or being caring toward others. We all have a great need to show these vulnerable parts of ourselves and be accepted, and in fact the group atmosphere makes it easy for this to happen.

People want to be able to love each other if only they are in the right environment to bring this out. Group members find it natural to be loving and compassionate toward someone who reveals pain or weakness. The pain is experienced as something precious and beautiful, and people welcome this kind of sharing. It makes them feel closer to you. It’s one of those poignant, special moments in group that everyone cherishes.