Written by Gracie Dougherty
From a young age, we all are taught the disadvantages associated with making yourself vulnerable. Vulnerability is scary; you open yourself up emotionally and mentally at the risk of exposing yourself to pain or harm. Because of this, society has taught us to keep quiet. Society has told us to bottle up our emotions, because talking about your feelings shows vulnerability. Society has tricked us into thinking that this vulnerability equates to us being weak or fragile.
But here’s the thing: it’s just not true. Yes, sharing our emotions and feelings often makes us vulnerable. But we are not weak. We are not fragile. Showing vulnerability by opening yourself up shows strength. It shows resilience. And we all need to remember that. Feelings are not a bad thing to have, it is simply human nature and it is completely normal. We should not be afraid to talk about the emotions and feelings we endure every single day. As a society, we all need to work to eliminate the stigma associated with expressing our emotions.
Because of that stigma, it’s so difficult to talk about how we feel. It’s especially hard for those of us who are part of the younger generation. College and high school students, even younger ages, are scared to share our emotions. I know this first hand as I am one of these younger people who also has struggled with being vulnerable. I was so scared to tell my friends and family that I was struggling. I was terrified of the vulnerability and the stigmas associated with it. It took me a long time to come forward and seek the help that I so greatly needed. But when I did, a giant weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
Everyone who is struggling with something deserves to also have that weight off of their shoulders. Yes, it is so hard. The stigmas surrounding speaking up and being vulnerable make it a very terrifying situation for those of us who have our own mental obstacles. As a younger generation, we fear being made fun of or discriminated against by our peers or our friends. But in the end, our mental health and wellbeing is much more important. It should be made a priority- and the best, sometimes only, way to do that is by talking about it. Overcome the stigmas and speak up. I know how hard it is, but I also know that it is completely and entirely worth it. Don’t be afraid of showing your feelings and emotions- talk about it.