The first part of my story ends “… and so I learned to never let people see me cry. It shows them where they can hurt you.”
The second part of the story is the important part. In Brene Brown’s first TED talk, she speaks of “numbing,” and how numbing negative emotions also numbs positive emotions.
You want to avoid feeling fear? Be prepared to also nix joy. Never letting people see you cry means you also don’t dare let them see you light up, because then they know what they can take away. I still admire the gritty stubbornness about my earlier attitude toward sharing – there’s nothing you can take away and nothing you can give me that will make me move. It’s frustrating to people who only understand how to manipulate instead of evoke motivation.
Tara Brach calls the hard shell we maintain to smooth our path through an uncertain world full of hurt a “space suit,“. My space suit was built during years of bullying, loneliness, raging self-doubt and self-hatred, with mounds of macaroni and cheese eaten in secret, gallons of alcohol shared with fellow space travelers, layers of bright red lipstick, and a desperation to remain unseen. The space suit projects a false-color version of Self, attracting people who perceive and need our weaknesses to complement their own space suits. The thing we hoped would protect us only makes us more vulnerable.
“… and so I learned to let people see me cry and light up. It’s the only way your people can find you.”
“Did you find your people yet?”
It takes practice to find your people. Sometimes they can’t stay. Sometimes they are busy. Sometimes they are rare. Those people who appreciate your authentic Self are worth the risk.