Ever since I was younger, it had been engrained in my head that those who are expressive of their feelings are weaker than the rest of the population that does not. It was always a battle for who could put on the best mask and pretend like they had their whole lives together, much better than the next person. I had surrounded myself with people that I considered friends at the time, but people that had no intention of building strength in the bond. It was a negative time for me, being surrounded by this kind of mentality. The first time I had really broken down my barriers I had built was my first serious relationship, which lasted for around 4.5 years, and even then, there were times when I wanted to keep them out of conversation and out of mind. I did, however, realize something when that relationship ended. All the times that I kept my feelings to myself were the times when I was causing my own destruction. I wasn’t punishing anyone else but myself by letting my pain eat at what I thought to be an otherwise strong exterior. I did learn something, over these years. Losing a serious relationship, eliminating the friendships that were destructive to my own path, becoming increasingly independent as I realized what was permanent and what was temporary…. I learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was, and that others who show the same kinds of strength are those who are not afraid to be real. I screwed up thinking that I was weak because I was honest about my feelings. I should’ve been upfront from the start, but I let my apprehension to do so get the best of me.
Part of this journey to redefine my understanding is shown through my writing. Writing gives me the ability to be honest without direct confrontation, and is something that can be shared or reflected upon individually. I’m continuing to grow and develop my skills of communicating what I need and desire from my life and my relationships with others, and I think this was a crucial part of my journey: establishing up front that being true to yourself gives you the best chance at happiness. I’m well on my way.
As for you, find the people you trust. There are many people out for themselves these days, but if you can find a handful that love and respect you as they do for themselves, you’ll become closer to connecting your feelings with strength. Those who do not patronize you for your vulnerability, but stand by you, are essential to your journey to redefine what is believed to be weakness. Strength comes from the heart. Don’t let your heart by trumped by your head, because in the long run, you’ll need a level-headed, honest perception from both.