What It Means to Find Strength in Weakness

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We all want to believe we are strong. We want to believe that we are able to take on whatever life may throw at us, however hard it may be. We want to believe we are somehow above life’s valleys. Sometimes it even feels like there’s something inside us telling us we have to be above it all.

Isn’t it part of our nature to think anything other than strength is weakness?

The truth is, sometimes strength doesn’t look like we think it does. Strength is often portrayed as enduring. Silent. Unaffected. Strength, we’re often told, is not letting others see your pain.

But strength can also come in tears. It can come in running to your friends, your family, your church. Strength can be quiet not because you’re stoic, but because you’re thinking, empathizing and trying to repair a tough situation, not just endure it.

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Here are a few ways that could help tap into that kind of strength when you are feeling fragile:

Resist the urge to shove your emotions under the rug.

In the short term this can seem the best solution, but in the long term these emotions are bound to expand to the point where they are about to burst. Instead, work through your feelings as they arise.

Perhaps in the past when you have gone through a break up, you thought the best way to deal with it was by “moving on,” shoving your heartache down and acting as though the relationship and its end did not impact you.

It can be so tempting to do this. We are often told that this is the best way to cope: to immediately move past it. But if you miss the chance to acknowledge your own fragility and pain, you can miss the chance to heal and grow into someone who is more emotionally mature. Being able to understand your emotions and process them is an incredible quality. The reason people often struggle with this ability is because they view having emotions as a weakness. We can acknowledge where our emotions are and work through them without ever losing any of our strength in the process.

… if you miss the chance to acknowledge your own fragility and pain, you can miss the chance to heal and grow into someone who is more emotionally mature.

Sometimes certain events can cause you to feel fragile, but other times it’s just the moment of life you find yourself in. Not every stage is going to be comfortable and you don’t need to shield yourself to get through it. In doing so you miss the opportunity to develop.

Remind yourself that it’s okay to be fragile.

It‘s easy to be your own worst critic and to get down on yourself for things that are only human. It’s impossible to go through life without feeling fragile at some point, whether from loss, heartache or life itself. Grant yourself grace in those times and know that feeling fragile does not mean you are not strong.

Maybe you’ve lost someone you love and feel a need to be strong through the loss, so you tell yourself to just keep going through the pain. But eventually your fragile heart calls you to feel it. Let yourself feel how fragile you are and give yourself the room to heal and recover. There is nothing weak about it; recovery requires a great amount of strength.

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Look for the source of what you are feeling.

Often we struggle to identify what is hurting us. Is it something that happened or something that was said? Think back to what might be causing this fragile feeling. Maybe you can pinpoint the moment and begin to work through it. Or maybe there is no specific moment and you just need to prioritize some self-care and allow yourself the time to mend.

There are times in life when the fragility of your heart demands attention. There are days and seasons when you need to take extra care of yourself, but these days don’t have to diminish the strength inside of you.

Pushing past your feelings will not permit you to move on, it will only store those feelings to come up at a later date. Instead, recognizing what you need and allowing yourself the time to give your heart its relief is a form of strength. It’s the ability to feel what you need for that moment. And often, you emerge from times of fragility stronger than before.

Where do you draw your strength from?

Images via Marisa Iglesias

Leslie likes to consider herself a walking SNL encyclopedia. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, has crushes on used bookstores, drinks a lot of tea, and dreams of being a writer. She wants to laugh a lot and do what she can to help people in need.

7 COMMENTS
  • Teri M.B. June 18, 2017

    It took me a long time to be able to work through my emotions like this. I find that journaling is where I can really get to the core of things. Calling a feeling out, writing it down no matter what. I think something I used to do and still do sometimes is write off my feelings as childish or ridiculous before I even got to process them, then trying to skip forward to the healing and strengthening process. But in reality, I need to acknowledge that it hurts my feelings when my sister tells me I can’t dance because I feel like she never gave me a chance and now it makes me self conscious; or that I think my parents treat their furniture better than their kids sometimes. Once I do that, I can find the underlying cause, address it, talk to my sister or my parents or whoever, then move on in a healthy way.

    Loved this article!

  • Fabia May 23, 2017

    Allowing yourself to connect to your emotions is very powerful. You can empathise with others and also help others too. As a child I used to disconnect all of my feeling because of abuse. Today I’m grateful to feel all emotions because they remind I’m human.

  • Catherine Kbarkley May 23, 2017

    So great! You are really wise and encouraging.

  • Anonymous May 23, 2017

    I needed this. Thank you for your willingness to be honest and share lesson you’ve learned. Beautiful.

    • Stephanie Taylor May 23, 2017

      Hi Leslie! I meant to leave my name on my comment, but I hit publish too quickly. My name is Stephanie Taylor, and I write for Darling Magazine as well. This was so beautiful. I really needed these words today. I’d love to connect! Following you on Twitter!

      • Leslie Tulip May 23, 2017

        Thanks Stephanie! I’m glad it was what you needed to hear today! Happy to connect with you on Twitter. 🙂

  • I used to always disregard my emotions and push them aside to “deal with them later”. Of course, ultimately, it made things worse. Now, I repeat empowering mantras to myself when I need courage or strength!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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