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Something I've been thinking about this week is that fragility in people is often difficult to track.

Sometimes friends and neighbors look like they have everything together when in fact there is real limitation lurking below the surface.

Those of us who are focused on a palatable exterior, who avoid conflict or even gravitate to convention out of fear, often look stronger and more "together" than they are.

The glossy surface may look like strength, but in fact is a sign of limitation.  Painting the ideal picture is often an attempt to get away from what is real, because what is real overwhelms one's current capacity to cope.

So rather than acknowledge what hurts or what we haven't yet sorted out, we often tuck away the painful information that can help us.  The problem is that papering over our troubles makes us more vulnerable, not less.

It makes us less able to handle uncertainty; it affords us less opportunity to develop the muscles we need, and therefore will ultimately create more pain, and more pressure to hide from what scares us.

Our capacity for intimacy, to know and be known, is highly linked to our willingness to honestly confront who we are, and who we are not yet.  Facing this head on takes tremendous courage, but in my experience, these are the people who live more peacefully in their relationships.

What do you need to face in your life?

What does your conscience tell you you need to focus on or address?

What are you pretending not to know about your role in your current difficulties?

As hard as these questions are, these are the questions that make us stronger and freer.

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

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