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Posted by Fong Min Liao on

I was not taught how to express my feelings as a young child. Instead, I was punished for crying, for throwing tantrums and for simply being myself. Because I wasn’t being understood and I did not understand. As a result, I grew up being conditioned to withhold my emotions and my needs. Thus, over time, layers of trauma and pain were formed.

It wasn’t until years later when I was on the brink of my inner death, that I realized, in order for me to overcome the pain I had carried for so long, was to embrace it. For me to show it love and to accept it entirely. To peel back the layers with tenderness and care.

We grow up in a world that shames us if we are too much of this or too much of that. It is something I am all too familiar with. Out in the world, I survived the majority of my early years by people pleasing, staying quiet and distancing myself.

When the burning ache of the need to grow overcame my fear of others’ opinions, I had to relearn what it meant to express myself. I had to give myself the freedom of expression. My decision marked the beginning of my practice toward a better self, the best version I could be proud of to be. It is a practice of constant pivoting, retraining and creating new patterns. I always say it is a simple choice, but it is never easy. This practice requires discipline and discomfort.

Today, I am no longer afraid to speak up on how I feel, how I think and how I wish to live my life. For the life that I live is entirely mine and no one else’s. I am no longer afraid to express how I love, how I hurt and how I fear. Being truly vulnerable means you are putting yourself at risk of undesired consequences and rejections. But the key to vulnerability is being willing to accept those consequences and rejections as they come. And the beauty of vulnerability is that you bring into your life only what aligns with you.

As humans, we all desire to be seen, to be heard and to be loved. The core human desire is for a connection with another. And true connection cannot happen without true vulnerability.

However you choose to lead your life, I hope that you will welcome more vulnerability.

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