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Vulnerability is a Sign of Strength and Courage

This one’s important, my friends. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Now I’m going to say something here that I’m one person that doesn’t really separate between male or female. I believe we’re all human beings living the human experience. But there is something here that is a little bit skewed when it comes to the traditional upbringing of a man in society. I’m not saying that vulnerability is tough, it’s easier for females versus men or anything like that, but I always want to teach something. So let’s say a young girl and a young boy are playing off in some AYSO soccer and if the girl is playing and all of a sudden she falls down and if she gets emotional and cries and holds her knee, there might be a few people that might come up to her and tell her, “It’s okay, it’s okay,” and help her get up and just kind of sub her out of the game, and just be a little bit more patient and loving and caring with that young girl. But if a boy falls down, society has a different message. They say, “Get the heck back up. Boys don’t cry. Get up, put some dirt on your knees, you’re fine.” And in that moment, there’s a very subtle but important message that is taught to those children. For the girl it says, “hey, it’s okay when you’re hurt to show your emotions.” For the guy it says, “when you’re hurt you got to suck it up and go forward.” Now I understand that it could be a decent lesson in some way to teach on a field, I don’t know, but what does that lesson teach in this field of life? It teaches men that when they are sad, when they’re afraid, they are hurt, what do they have to do? They gotta suppress it. You can’t show your emotion. It’s a sign of weakness. That is the biggest BS line I’ve ever heard in my life. Because what happens is later on in life that man becomes 16 years old, 20 years old, 24 years old, 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, and they learned at a young age of five that men don’t cry, men don’t show their emotions. It’s a sign of weakness.

Do you Suppress your Emotions?

So when they get scared in life, when they get sad in life, when they don’t know what they’re experiencing inside because of anxiety, or they’re terrified about life, they suppress it and they hold it in, they hold it in, they hold it in, and one day this explodes. Now the show Ted Lasso does something wonderful. It shows these men, these Alpha men, these professional athletes, what it’s like to be okay with expressing your emotions. This show breaks the stigma of mental health. By the way, they bring in a therapist that works with these guys and they’re allowed to process life events, stories, situations. It shows people how to work through panic attacks and anxiety attacks. 

Now the part that I just wanted to make sure that you know that I’m not separating the two, because if you’re a female watching this, male or female, but if you’re a female watching this and vulnerability is also hard for you, because at some point in your life you got hurt, at some point in your life you got taken advantage of, at some point in your life you potentially experienced some type of an abuse, and now you feel that if I open up to people if I put myself out there, if I’m vulnerable I’m going to get hurt, but I want to tell you this. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, whether you’re a female that experiences the inability to be vulnerable as a result of trauma and abuse, or you’re a male that also experienced that stuff but you also got the second hand label from society that you’re not allowed to show your emotions as a sign of weakness, that all of that is BS. And we have to transcend above that if we want to heal.

The Anger Iceberg

When stuffing the emotions it sometimes explodes, not as sadness but it presents as intense anger. If you have been exposed to something called the Anger Iceberg, if you remember the movie Titanic, this massive boat’s going and they’re like, “Oh my God, there’s an iceberg,” and they hit the iceberg and then we know how the movie ends. But the tip of the iceberg is what the Titanic hit. The tip of the iceberg is the smallest part of the entire iceberg. Underneath the tip there is the actual mass of the iceberg that goes deep, potentially sometimes even miles under the water. So what happens with this anger is, anger is a secondary emotion, because it’s loud, because it’s intense, because it’s aggressive, is what is seen, the tip of the iceberg. But underneath anger there’s other secondary emotions like fear, frustration, agitation, annoyance. And underneath it all where the heaviest mass is actually sadness. When you look at all those guys and girls in prison with all the tattoos, and the angry ones and the ones that act out, you see their anger, but guess what? If you rewind the tape of their life back to when they were 12 or 10 or 6 or 4 years old, guess what’s the only emotion you’re gonna see? Extreme sadness, extreme sadness. So next time you judge an angry person and think that something’s wrong with them, have a little compassion and rewind the tape back and find out when that person was actually super sad. Anger is just an acting out. It’s just a form of behavior we do to cope with what’s inside.

Find People you can Trust

Not all people are bad people. Not all people are untrustworthy. Not all people have your worst interest in mind. There are good people out there. There are trustworthy people out there. There are people that you can open up to and be vulnerable and be safe. Find those people and experience what life with vulnerability is like. And then you have two versions of life. Version one, the one I can’t show my emotions to anybody because the world isn’t a safe place, or it’s a sign of weakness. Version two, it’s okay to show my emotions and to be vulnerable, and to be seen, to be heard, because I understand that’s the way I’m going to heal. Choice is up to you. Whatever you want to do, the choice is up to you, my friends.

Courage is about Being Willing to Try

Taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone are essential for growth and success. Everybody that enters the world of transformation, whether you are trying to transform your circumstances, whether you’re trying to transform your physical appearance, whether you’re trying to transform your engagement with drugs and alcohol or addictive behaviors, whether you’re trying to transform various areas of your life, you must step out of your comfort zone. In order to do so you are exhibiting courage. I want you to know that. Sometimes even watching or listening to a talk like this could be a courageous act. You think it’s all just something I’m doing on a weekend but no, there could be some courage because there might be an area in your life that is so uncomfortable for you to be able to address but by watching this you get the inspiration and the motivation to step out your comfort zone and say “I’m gonna do it.”

Celebrate your Successes

It’s important for us to remember to celebrate not only the successes you make when you step out of your comfort zone, but also celebrate the perceived failures when you step out of your comfort zone. Nobody expects you to be able to just kill it, or nobody expects you to just be able to just knock it out the park, or succeed right off the bat. Nobody does. You might have that for yourself but guess what? That might be an unrealistic expectation. You might have to give yourself a little bit of compassion and grace and say, “Hey, I’ve struggled with this for the majority of my life and I’m finally stepping out of my comfort zone to make some lasting changes.” Don’t give yourself such a tight rope that with the slightest perceived failure you say, “Oh I can’t do this.” Just keep going and just keep trying and just see how the story unfolds. Don’t judge the end and the outcome based on the initial setbacks and failures that you might get throughout the way. 

Overcoming fear is really hard to do, but willingness to overcome fear opens the door. Becoming willing means I just open the door a little bit to go try something.

Call Buckeye Recovery Today!

Are you in recovery but not making progress? Recovery is not only possible but attainable, and it all begins with reaching out for assistance. By addressing both addiction and mental health issues, individuals can break free from the cycle of despair and embark on a path to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact Buckeye Recovery Network today and initiate your journey to recovery and improved mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.