Strength is putting a smile on your face, so that no one can see you’re hurting, right? Wrong.
In this society we are taught that being strong is the absence of pain even when our circumstances are simply unbearable. We strive for others to call us strong because they know what we’re going through and somehow we still have a smile on our face and we’re “pushing through.” That is great and all, but why is that our definition of strength? Why is strength seen as the absence of very human emotions? Why are you all of a sudden “weak” if you breakdown because you can’t take the pain anymore? Why is crying the default setting for weakness?
I disagree with this definition of strength completely. Strength is not going it alone. Strength is not hiding. Strength is vulnerable. Strength takes courage. Strength is not the absence of fear, but rather facing that fear head on. Strength is being exposed and uncomfortable. Strength is having the courage to open up to someone that could potentially hurt you and trusting them not to. In this society, when did it become that strength was found in silence. I am tired of hearing that strength is when you’re pushing through because that can often times lead to great destruction.
To be anything, but vulnerable is extremely cowardly. Take it from someone who finds it incredibly difficult to trust a single soul. I believed the lie that strength was found in a mask that I put up when I was hurting. If you let no one inside the walls, then you can’t get hurt. That is true, but that is living in fear of vulnerability. You fear that if people see you hurting that they are going to pick up their boots and sprint in the other direction. I get that. I have been there. And I am still there at times. Sometimes people have to pry me open, but I’m begging you. Let them pry. They care.
I know what it is like to believe crying was the ultimate sign of weakness, but if the people you are surrounded with make you feel like that, then they are not your friends. Friends will support you, comfort you, and be there not only through the high highs, but also the low lows. It takes courage to be vulnerable, raw, and authentic. It is scary to be yourself in a world that tells you to be anything but. It is a courage that not a lot of people have. It takes no strength to hide under a mask of illusions and deception. Rather, it takes great strength to stand up and say I am broken. I need help. I need someone to listen. It takes courage to admit that you’ve been shattered into a million tiny pieces and you do not think you will ever be whole again. It is okay to admit that. It takes strength to put yourself out there and admit that your life is not sunshine and rainbows, but you’re making it through one day at a time. It is okay to not be okay. The right people will look at your life to prove your strength because although you might have been through hell and back you recognize that it is your choice of whether you will allow that to destroy you or grow you. It is your choice to shut down and hide or stand up in the attempt to help someone else. No mask. You’re exposed and raw, not perfect and whole. You have jagged edges, broken pieces, and that’s okay, but sometimes your vulnerability is your first step to healing of your wounds, or could be the thrust someone else needed to pursue their own healing.
Admitting that you are not okay is strength. Being vulnerable is not a weakness! It is a great strength that many are not courageous enough to pursue in fear of rejection, of getting hurt, or of never being able to live up to some unattainable standards. Unwillingness to be vulnerable can result in a lack of identity and make you miss the very thing that makes you special and unique.
Never believe that your strength lies behind a mask. Be vulnerable. Be unique. Be real. It’s not weakness, but rather great strength.