Too often children are taught not to cry. “Be tough; don’t cry. You’re okay.” Maybe their feelings are hurt or they are afraid. Appropriate validation of his or her feelings and reassurance is essential for healthy emotional development. However, if those feelings are ignored or pushed aside repeatedly, it may teach the child to feel insignificant and to build protective walls. This can manifest in an older child or adult as overweight issues or addictive escapes into drugs, spending, alcohol, sex or even work.
It truly takes courage for an adult to melt down those walls and allow feelings of human vulnerability. It requires being honest with yourself and others about who you really are; it short, it requires acknowledging and becoming your authentic self. To fully feel unspoken pain and accept it, is a catalyst for healing. In some cases, this may require the assistance of a therapist. Perhaps the comforting ear of a close friend or loving family member may suffice. At the very least, journaling is a wonderful outlet to release those secret feelings.
Truly experiencing joy requires knowledge and acceptance of the darkest recesses of your sadness and disappointments. If you are unable to be fully open to all of life’s experiences, you are depriving yourself of meaningful relationships and your deepest joys. Vulnerability is not weakness; it takes strength to be vulnerable in the face of your sorrows or shame. Weakness is not allowing yourself access to the full spectrum of human emotions. Truly, vulnerability is a precious gift that you give to yourself because only those who live with it can fully embrace all the beauty and joys life has to offer.