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.
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.
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