It took me years, but I finally allowed my perceived ‘weakness’ to actually become my strength.

I have been told in countless ways how weakening emotions can be.

“You’re too/so sensitive."

“You’re always in your feelings.”

“You feel so much.”

“You’re so emotional.”

Living for their perceptions

For a long time I started to believe people’s perceptions of my being 'emotional' while slowly suffocating myself to avoid being perceived as "weak." I have always aimed to look tough--whether it be through my demeanor or my clothing, I guess you could say I liked the aesthetic of appearing "tough." Generally, whenever I am wearing my hair out in a massive Afro, I can come across as intimidating and I won’t lie, I get a bit of satisfaction out of it because I generally don’t like to be bothered. However, I can admit that growing up, I cried a lot. It was an outlet I used that not many people understood and often mistook for weakness. With that came a lot of bullying and constantly feeling the need to prove myself to people. It was an exhausting task, and in some cases, I felt like I had to fit the bill to a T. It took me years, but I finally allowed my perceived "weakness" to actually become my strength.

Realizing the importance of expression

Many people tend to equate emotion to weakness, similar to the concept of linking masculinity to strength, which we all know is not always the case. Instead, I have learned to market my emotions as a sign of strength and power. My being emotional is what allows me to connect with others on a deeper level than a lot of people can, and that is a rare quality to come by especially in this day and age where people are revered for their lack of emotion and blatant disregard for others. It was not until I came into adulthood that I begin to realize the importance of emotional expression and how my emotions were tied directly to my humanity. Even though I am not a fan of being vulnerable, I have learned to embrace it over the years.

Finding strength in emotions

Some people do not have the ability to fully express themselves emotionally, and dealing with those people is what makes me feel tough. While many do not realize it, it does take a special amount of strength to deal with the emotionally inept. To be in constant contact with the inconsiderate, the rude, the hurtful, the selfish, the mean, the disrespectful, and everything in between and still get up everyday and make the conscious decision to not become any of those things is an amazing feat.

I do not want to be anybody’s perceived version of ‘tough’--I would much rather be my own.

Recognize that your emotions are valid. Know that those who may not understand are quick to invalidate them because they have not taken the time to explore and understand their own. As long as what you feel is valid to you, it should not matter what anyone else thinks. Take time to feel, validate and understand your emotions, and know that that matters more than anyone else’s opinion of them. At the end of the day, no matter who you meet, where you go, or what you go through, how you feel is the underlying truth to every experience. To the emotionally inclined, I applaud you for your honesty and bravery, recognize your strength and continue to stand in your truth.

What is your superpower?

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