The first time I saw this posted on Instagram, I couldn’t have agreed more.
Now…not so much.
I think there is some truth in it, but I also see the other side of it.
I see a society where going through things, natural things, almost seem frowned upon. We are almost expected to smile as if doing so will indicate our level of happiness. And when we don’t smile, we can’t fathom the idea that others really want to know what we are going through, so we hold it in.
That is where the worst part about being strong lies.
It’s not that nobody asks us if we are okay. It’s that we don’t allow ourselves to share our problems with others. Perhaps we are ashamed, embarrassed and unsure how it might make us look. Maybe we don’t think that others could possibly relate to what we are going through. But the worst part is, that we are considered the “strong ones” and admitting that we go through stuff too, is harder and heavier than the emotional baggage we are carrying…alone.
I have been trying to write this post for weeks and the more I thought about it, the more I became entangled with the complexities of it.
But it became more clear to me when I heard that somebody I know tried to harm themselves. And believe me, I write this with a very very heavy heart. I don’t know what they were thinking in that moment. Or what they were going through, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish that they would have talked to me. Their family. Their friends. Just somebody before making that decision.
With all of my heart, I wish they would have relied on and trusted someone to help them carry the load so they wouldn’t have to do it by themselves.
But most importantly, I wish that stupid unspoken definition about what being strong is, was unwritten. Being strong as a characteristic is not like some weight-lifting competition where the strongest person is defined by who can pull a truck hauling a building on their back within a designated distance. Or some other scenario like that.
Yes, one definition of being strong is “having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks,” but as it is written in the definition, that’s the physical aspect. The other definition, the one that we all hope defines us, is “able to withstand great force or pressure.”
I agree to some extent, but I think being strong is not only how much you can “withstand,” but being wise enough to accept and acknowledge when we have too much on our plates.
That doesn’t make us less than, powerless, feeble, fragile or any other variation of the word weak. That makes us human and we can not afford to make the mistake of forgetting that.