Find the strength to accept your vulnerability, or if you can, embrace it.
I can’t recall when exactly I began to notice this phenomenon at home, but it became all too apparent since I moved back in with my parents.
My dad doesn’t like Netflix. Too many choices. He’d rather let HBO tells him what to watch every evening.
What was playing on the screen at the time, I could not remember. It was only the distinct sadness I felt that blurred my vision.
I turned away from the TV and saw my mom with two silent streams of tears down her face. She wiped them away just as my dad switched the channel.
Why are we so afraid to show emotions?
Angry outbursts and casual annoyance are fine, but not the sobering grief.
Is that a sign of vulnerability? weakness?
We suppress and refuse to feel our own sadness.
We can’t stand watching others’ sadness, so we turn away.
Student: So what movies do you watch? Or TV series?
Me: I don’t watch anything. I prefer to read or listen to audiobooks instead.
Student: What? Why?
Me: Hmm… you know. I have given this much thought. I think it’s because I don’t like how movies and series manipulate my emotions. I’m made to feel this and that along with the storyline. And with books, I don’t feel so much like a puppet on a string. By the way, puppet on a string is a useful English impression. Note that down, please.
Student: Ok, got it. But I don’t understand. Isn’t that the point of watching movies? So you can let yourself go and be free to feel the actor’s or actress’s feeling?
It’s almost comical.
I set out to be different from my parents, but the generational avoidant tendency lives on.
How do we break the cycle and be freed from the imprisonment of suppression?
Me: What do you mean to follow our feelings? What if they are wrong or evil? Like pedophiles and rapists can’t just follow their feelings.
He: I’m not sure. Maybe following isn’t the right word. I just know that if we deny or dismiss them, other feelings emerge, such as resentment, depression and so on.
Me: But what about the evil thoughts of hurting others?
He: Hmm… maybe let’s start with not judging or labelling your feelings as wrong or evil. They are your feelings. There are perhaps underlying reasons why you feel them. Dig deeper. Listen to what your feelings are saying.