#3 - Who I Became When I Didn't Cry for Ten Years

They bullied me in middle school. No one wanted to be close with me to avoid being bullied too. Even my best friend turned against me and became the biggest bully of them all.

As an only child of immigrant parents with no friends to lean on, I didn't have to tools to process my feelings.

So I hardened.

For over ten years, I bottled up my emotions and refused to allow myself to cry. I wanted to be the tough one, the person who could always keep it together.

My insecurities led me to place external achievements above all else. I thought that if I were successful, people would finally accept me.

Feelings only got in the way, right?

I thought that I was strong when all that I was doing was pushing others away.

As I buried myself in accomplishments, I neglected my relationships, especially with my Mom and Dad.

I later realized that my ability to share and receive love from others is directly related to my ability to share and receive my parents' love.

The way I judged them harshly instead of seeing the love behind their actions showed up everywhere.

It was how I treated myself and others.

To be fully free in life, I had to be free with my parents.

The more I could love and be loved by them, the more I could love myself and others.

To do that, I had to relearn how to share my tears as freely as my laughter.

Joseph J. Lam
On a mission to help people connect deeply with their parents. | CEO & Co-founder of Parents Are Human (parentsarehuman.com)