I have always considered myself strong as has my whole family. I am not sure which came first. It is totally the whole chicken and egg scenario. At this point in my life it doesn’t matter though. This weekend I realized that I was defining the word incorrectly.
I used to look at being strong and having that inner strength as not experiencing all of my feelings. Being strong meant I didn’t cry. I did not share my emotions or thoughts with others. I was resistant to accepting support from others. I mean, come on, if I am the strong one I shouldn’t need support. Then I finally cried. Not from loss of hope or pain, but from the immense out pouring of support I received from strangers.
Driving home from Michigan Sunday I realized that I had the whole being strong thing wrong. Being strong means being able to bend and bounce back. To acknowledge when you need a rest or feel tired. It is admitting when you can’t go it alone, need support and asking for it. Being strong is being honest and open. It is not closing down and isolating yourself.
Being strong means having a secure and honest knowledge of oneself. Instead of being so brittle and stiff thinking that you can “hold it together” being flexible is the real key. Brittle and stiff means that a good strong wind or knock will tip you over. Flexibility is the way to go with strong roots to help you bounce back.