"Strength is the product of honesty, humility, and hope."
I had this idea growing up that being strong meant being fearless, always striving for perfection, and never giving up. I thought being a strong woman meant to cry in silence alone and never let anyone see you distraught or hurting. At all times I thought a strong woman had to be put together, throwing on her poker face as if everything was okay all the time. Because of this idea, I have found myself repeating in my head "it's okay." If someone hurt me I would say "its okay," if someone did something to me that I knew wasn't right, I would again say, "it's okay." Because in my mind, I had to believe it was okay and that it was making me stronger. I would attribute every bad thing that happen to me to the multiplication of my strength. I endured bad friendships, relationships where I was used and cheated on, and the company of people who never really had my best interest at heart. I did this believing that afterwards it was all okay because I became stronger. Sadly, living like this caused me to isolate myself in that I rarely spoke with anyone when I was hurting, disappointed, or feeling broken. By doing this everyone that I came across would always say, "I admire you, you're so strong and your life is going so well." Which made it even harder to share, because everyone counted on me to have it all put together. I felt as if I broke down and cried on the shoulder of someone else, they would somehow feel hopeless because even I was breaking down. So not only did I isolate myself, I hid how I felt about 90% of the time, all in the name of being "strong." Living like this only made room for loneliness, bitterness, and over sensitivity to the actions of others. The idea of holding things in and pretending to be okay, resulted in the lack of emotional maturity. I knew I had to make a change, when I found myself overreacting to situations due to certain wounds and pain that I never dealt with. I began to see a need for emotional maturity in my life and stumbled upon the true definition of strength.
Strength is not the lack of problems, emotion, or the willingness to seem okay at all times. Strength is being willing to admit when things are not okay and being willing to ask for help during those times whether it be crying on someones shoulder or sharing with someone what is truly going on in your life. Strength is not holding everything in, but it is truly opening up and sharing with others the daily struggles we may be endure. It is recognizing that it is okay not to be okay, it builds character, it helps others who may also be in a similar situation, and is part of the healing process. We do not get our strength by pretending to have it all together. We get our strength by believing that even when things are not going okay, eventually they will be, and until then I will reach out for help and share what I am going through with those I trust. The world has made "Me, Myself, and I," the motto for strength, when we know man is not good alone. It's the past pain and disappointments that stifle our ability to trust others and share our testimony. I thank God that He pointed out my "fake strength," because from that day forward it became effortless to be honest when things were not okay. I now find strength in being honest with God, myself, and others when things are not going okay. There is freedom and joy in honesty, that produces strength. I encourage all of my readers to be honest about how you feel, grow in emotional maturity, and share your testimony. It's time to take off the mask of fake strength, humble yourself, and share!
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Have a great week and as always I will be praying for each and every one of you! - Love, Rissa
Clarissa C. Burton, M.S.W
Devoted to guiding others toward living a life they don't need a vacation from.