In my life and my work I encounter many difficult stories. Even more so, many people who inspire me – those who acknowledge their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their history and their journey.
So often we want to, or are told to, hide our weakness and difficulties, even our successes! Yet we each have our own unique voice and contribution. It saddens me when these voices and stories are silenced – by negative messages from others or ourselves. Those difficult experiences have recognizable elements that are a part of our shared humanity.
All of us have felt feelings of fear, sadness, anger, pride and shame. Perhaps they arose in different intensities, contexts or in different historical narratives. Yet, these feelings and difficult thoughts, such as of “being a failure”, “not being good enough”, or “not being lovable enough”, have thrown shadows on all of our lives at some time. Hiding these experiences increases the shame and suffering, as well as increases the likelihood in perpetuating this suffering.
Acknowledging and seeing someones else’s pain or struggle does not invalidate ours, rather it can increase our connection to each other as well as our own resilience.
Acknowledging and seeing someones else’s pain or struggle does not invalidate ours, rather it can increase our connection to each other as well as our own resilience. Sharing our experiences in an open respectful way opens up the possibility to connect, grow, shine and find other less hurtful paths for our future.
This is particularly visible for me as an immigrant/expat parent working as a therapist outside of my culture of origin. I see so many of us (friends, family, colleagues and clients) who at times feel lost, overwhelmed or unsupported in their journey through parenting, culture and mental health. I am always glad to find and celebrate voices that build community and encourage openness in these topics.
One such voice belongs to Tara on her blog Walkingonmom. She speaks beautifully about the trials, tribulations and celebrations inherent in parenting, mental health, and living in another culture. I find her posts refreshingly open, humorous and inspiring, as well as an excellent resource.
In the international, technological and fast changing world of today, we can easily become distanced from one another. We may be quick to critique, isolate or judge others when we are struggling. Being more open may allow us to give and receive more support and understanding.
How can you acknowledge your story? Acknowledge someone else’s? What do you recognize and want to celebrate in yourself? And in others with whom you are connected?