Being strong is talked about a lot, especially when someone is going through a crisis.
But what does it really mean to ‘be strong’? And should we be aiming at that anyway?
I wrote about being strong in my very first post – here.
And as I watch more and more of my friends deal with all sorts of horrible, traumatic events in their lives, the more sure I am that telling someone to ‘stay strong’ in the midst of those circumstances is a pretty useless piece of advice. It seems to me, what we are really saying is “Please don’t fall apart because then I wouldn’t know what to do.”
The world judges strength in all sorts of ways – by not crying, by getting angry, by getting even, by getting on with life, by laughing, by gritting your teeth, smiling and pushing on. The strength that most people want to see in others is often a denial of what is happening.
To me, that’s not necessarily strength, or not the sort I want, anyway.
And as women in particular in society right now, we are told to be tough, to be strong, to harden ourselves against all the world, men and bad relationships that life will inevitably throw at us.
You know what?
I don’t want to be tough, hard or even strong.
I want to be soft, gentle, to know that I can cry when I need to, be weak if I need to. I want to know that I don’t always have to ‘tough it out’.
Somewhere along the way, we have lost the ability to simply be. If that means we are weak for that moment, week, month or year, then so be it. If we don’t want to get mad, get angry or get even, that’s okay.
Being strong, to me, is crying when you need to, finding joy in the small things even as life crashes around you, it’s getting up each day, recognising it’s a hard day, crying your eyes out in the shower and yet still managing to get dressed and take the kids to school.
It’s saying “I’m not strong at all – I need you to help me” to those around us. It’s allowing ourselves to have ‘bad’ days, to simply grieve over whatever it is we are facing.
The sort of strength I’m talking about allows for the whole gamut of emotions that a crisis typically brings and doesn’t shy away from feeling them all, as painful as it is. And if a friend of mine does me the honour of being ‘strong’ in it’s true form when I’m around, then I feel privileged to be there in that moment with them, however long that moment lasts for.
How do you define strength?