He took one look at me as tears filled my eyes, and put his arms around me, holding me tight. After a moment, I hugged him back, gripping his jacket, crying into his shoulder.
Something felt different in his hug that day. His default hug is cute and cuddly, making me giggle. Sometimes, it’s very warm like a blanket. This time, though, it felt almost like he desperately wanted me to know with every ounce of his strength that I’m still good, still lovable, when I feel like garbage.
Growing up, I was encouraged to see suffering as a good thing, that it “builds character.” I spent most of my life bottling up any sadness or hurt, thinking my vulnerability was a sign of weakness.
Even though it made me feel so isolated, I thought it kept me safe. I was afraid that if I shared who I was with someone else, how I really felt, they would only increase my suffering by rejecting me.
So I kept my guard up. But for the first time in my life, I’m starting to learn that there’s something good that can happen even in those moments when I feel most vulnerable.
Someone else can’t always save me from my suffering, nor do I expect them to. But if they could be there with me in my suffering, it’s a very rare and priceless expression of love. It could be small, like a offering a tissue when you’re crying. It could be big, like friends taking time out of their busy lives to really talk and spend time with you.
I’m learning it’s OK to be vulnerable. In moments like these, every tear becomes an ocean, not for you to drown in, but one to sail across, together with your loved ones until you safely reach the other side.
- When I Need A Shoulder To Cry On, He’s There - August 13, 2018
- I’ve Been Badly Hurt. How Do I Open My Heart To Love? - May 21, 2018
- The One Thing You Can Say to Help Someone Who is Hurting - April 30, 2018