This thought storm was inspired by a conversation I had with someone recently. They were giving me a complement of sorts. This is a compliment that I’ve heard many times before – hundreds, if not thousands of times. The compliment was one that I received with gratitude initially. Then after many years – with a feeling of discomfort. I’d always respond with a gracious “thank you”! As I matured spiritually, I began to emotionally reject the comment, but I wouldn’t say anything.
Recently, I was talking with a friend who said it again, “You’re so strong,” I felt a “hell no” coming on. My usual response would have been to say, “thank you or, I didn’t have a choice.”, and then internally mull over what they really knew about what it takes to get through multiple life-threatening challenges. For the first time, I was ready to articulate the resistance to this well-meaning phrase. I began to respond the way I usually did, then stopped mid-sentence. I corrected myself. I said, “actually, I did have a choice - and the foundation for that choice was determination. Here’s what I learned about strength, determination and choice. I dedicate this to all the people who are tired being told that they’re strong.
· So many people who are labeled as “strong” don’t feel strong all the time
- I, for one, don’t feel strong on many a given day. I have the same struggles, challenges and mindf-cks with myself as you do. I worry, I doubt, I have fear, anxiety and stress, I wonder if I should give up. Some days I stop doing anything when I’m overcome by life, unable to focus or feel inspired… it can sometimes last days, weeks or months. I am wonderfully human and flawed. I take off my cape and retire it some days. Other days, I look in the mirror and wonder what the hell I think I’m trying to do. In these moments, I grant myself permission to feel all that shit. I grant myself permission to rest. I burn candles, incense, read my angel cards, meditate, sleep, exercise, drink lots of water, sleep. I fill my bed with pillows and soft blankets and I snuggle deep into them for hours, sometimes days. I grant myself permission to nurture my inner baby, to be coddled, to be in seclusion in order to clear my energy of stuff that is clinging to me that I need released. I participate in reckless acts of self-care and nothingness. Sometimes, I “w-allow”. Sometimes, I allow. And, I let myself “f-allow” (play on words here – flow with me)… I follow the feelings until they’ve run their natural course, and I’m feeling clear again.
I took off the robe of pressure that I felt from being told I was strong all the time and burned it
- Telling someone to feel something they don’t feel puts unnecessary pressure on them. I didn’t really know how this made me feel until I was talking with other empathic, emo, feel everything, strong, not always feeling so baddass, but really badass unicorn the other day, who was dealing with depression – deep depression. She had pulled away from many of her friends and there were only a few she would let in. I’d gotten to a place with her, where she was okay letting down her mask with me. I asked her why she let me in, and her response was “I don’t have to pretend when I’m with you”. We add a layer of pressure to people, when we place labels on them and have expectations of them. I’d felt a lot of invisible pressure for so many years to be a certain way, because it is the story that people told me. When really, I was just following the life path that I’d mapped out for me. It had nothing to do with me feeling strength or the lack thereof.
It’s our determination that makes the tattered human superhero get up
- Then I remember why I came. I remember why I started. I remember where I am going. I remember who I am, and who created me. I remember the millions of unseen forces that support me. I remember that millions of beings will be impacted by light…or will not be – should I choose to give up on my assignments in life and give up. I don’t feel strong in these times at all, but I am determined and what I do have is a choice, and I choose to shift my mindset, focus on the vision and I choose to look up, get up and move forward. I move forward because -
I am determined to let nothing get in the way for MY vision of my life
- You see, our life’s accomplishments are not defined necessarily by our strength, but by how fiercely we continue to iterate life, despite the times when we feel our weakest, most broken and most vulnerable. When we feel at our most decimated, we may choose to give up.
The people who are the most successful in life are not the ones who profess to having mastered all the virtues – like conquering fear, overcoming anxiety or being strong all the time but the ones who master loving themselves where they are, as they are living life
- Life is not for the faint of heart. Life is a beautifully, wonderful tapestry of mystery, magic, excitement, thrill, pain, suffering and once in a lifetime as you wonder. It is the path that we are on. And on this path, we must exercise our right to choose. We cannot allow ourselves to be defined by others – well-meaningly or not. To get through life, we need determination and grit. We need vision. We need purpose and passion… We need to love ourselves. And we must believe that we have a choice and exercise that choice – every step of the way.