Many people blindly follow the beliefs of their parents without ever truly thinking for themselves. The full expression of such passivity occurs when someone succumbs to the pressure of those around him, biting his tongue and yielding to someone else’s vision for his life. There are those who equate avoiding responsibility with personal freedom, when, in truth, it leaves us in a state of dependence. The emotional toll this takes is enormous. It stands to reason that if we think like a child and act like a child we will also feel like a child.
None us wants to believe that our parents or siblings have been less than nurturing, nor do they want to believe it themselves. They likely have no intention of projecting their doubt, cynicism, or other internal conflicts onto us. Nonetheless, just as children learn to speak by mirroring their caregivers, so our internal dialog absorbs these negative messages and repeats them back to us.
Love cannot grow in confinement. Nothing good blossoms in the dark. In order for someone to love us completely, we must allow them the space and the light to see us objectively. We mustn’t judge them for asking the questions that are inherent to their vantage point.
Over the past several months, I’ve spent time evaluating my relationship with sadness. Because I know it’s impossible to truly know joy without knowing the opposing force that gives it its meaning, the time had come for me to open the box from which the sorrows I tucked away have always spilled.
It had become painfully obvious that, because I hadn’t truly mourned my losses or properly grieved, the lingering sorrow was seeping out and contaminating my life. It silenced my laughter and paralyzed the part of me that just wants to dance.
By giving myself permission to be sad and ceasing to avoid the grief and sorrow, I’ve learned that it’s not the sadness that’s painful. It’s my resistance to it. And, because I stepped onto this path, I’ve begun to experience happiness and love in a way that was never before possible for me.
I keep this object, the Weeping Buddha, close by to remind me of the decision I made. I’m done swallowing tears.
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