This post was inspired by another blogger’s post.
(And I accidentally deleted half of when I tried to put the rest as “more reading”)
It feels like we get trained these days to “never show our hurt”. We’re taught to bottle it up and contain ourself. Here in Japan this is especially true.
At my friend’s church, they had a “share your feelings” session once. She was the only of two westerners. Everyone else was Japanese. One by one they stood up and shared something positive.
Finally, it was her turn and she shared about a recent misfortune in her life. The story was meant to be uplifting, how she overcome her tragedy and become stronger for it. However, the preacher finally stopped her mid-story and asked her “why share that? Do you want us to feel sad for you?”
She sat down in embarrassment and the rest continued to share their “positive” stories.
I’ve come across this view several times in Japan that sharing your “misfortune” even in a close friendship is “selfish”. I disagree.
In the west, I see more and more the view that you must not show “weakness” at all out of fearing of being seen as “vulnerable” and “weak”.
The whole world demands we bottle up the “bad” stuff, but then says “tell me about yourself” when really it’s “tell me about yourself — good stuff only”.
My life is not a fairy tale. I can’t tell you about me without mentioning what I have overcome and am still overcoming.
Sometimes I do cry.
Sometimes I am weak.
That does not mean I’m a “weak” person because I show that weakness.
I believe in stoicism and reservation.
That said I don’t believe in bottling it up. It needs to be let out. I need to let myself be weak so that I can be strong again.
Sometimes, while hiking in the woods, I cry against my husband’s shoulder as we grief for the child we lost and the children we may never have.
We need to let the sorrow out or it’ll consume us whole.