As we were having lunch at a restaurant one afternoon our youngest son Abdullah starting asking his mom for a “Kissy”. His mother was more than happy to oblige, giving him a kiss on his nose that always made him laugh as he made a face that looked like he was sucking on a lemon.

After he got the kiss he just looked back down at his plate and continued eating. I love the randomness of the situation and how our son didn’t hesitate for a second to ask his mother for love. I’m sure many parents and adults can relate to this situation with kids. I’m not sure if our son was upset, hungry or just needed some affection, but does it matter? In the end love was expressed and everyone felt better because of it.

As we grow up we aren’t so random with our emotional requests, we slowly start to filter our emotions and not necessarily say what we feel or why we feel a certain way. We start to bottle up our feelings and anything that does get expressed goes through an emotional filter.

Should I really tell her how I feel? Will he get upset? Will she think I’m weak? What if they don’t feel the same way? The questions could go on forever, each question creating a different scenario in our head of how things will turn out, which usually are far from reality because the imagination knows no boundaries.

Now I agree an emotional filter can be a good thing, being able to understand your feelings and express them in a way that helps a situation is important. Not making a decision when you are angry or emotional can save a lot of pain and heartbreak.

However being afraid to express your feelings to people you care about puts you in a corner where you feel alone. Always second guessing what you are going to say to them never allows a relationship to flow. The smallest emotional filter I have in my life, personally and professionally,  is with the people I love, because one of the key characteristics of a loving relationship is for someone to be there for you no matter what you are going through, good or bad.

I had a phase in my life where I felt that I always had to be the strong one in my relationships, as a husband, a father and a friend. But then I realized that true strength is not being afraid to admit when I was weak, to let the people I love know when I was suffering, or like my son Abdullah to simply just ask for a hug or kiss when I needed one, or when I didn’t.

Through life I have come to realize that our strength as individuals is a combination of the strength of every loving person in our lives. People come into our lives because we mean something to them and they mean something to us. You are all together to help and support each other no matter what. If someone truly loves you and you truly love them you should never have to be afraid to tell them exactly how you feel, you should never be afraid to tell them when you are feeling weak and you should never be afraid to tell them when you just need them a little closer.