“You’re so strong.”
I get that a lot. The interesting thing, to me, is that anyone who has had their strength put up for commentary by others probably actually experienced more weakness than anything else.
No, seriously! The only way I can think to explain it is with a… well, maybe an odd comparison-
Since emotional strength can be a little elusive and hard to understand, let’s consider physical strength for a moment.
Have you ever had a really kick ass workout? The kind that leaves you shaking and physically spent afterwards? Oh, what’s that you say? It leaves you… completely weak? By testing your own strength, giving every effort your muscles had to give, you leave yourself exhausted. You have literally just shredded your muscles, damaged them, so that they can rebuild themselves and renew the growth process.
The next morning, you’re rolling sideways out of bed, not sure you’re going to ever be able to sit up like a normal person ever again. Your legs can hardly bend as you stiffly pivot down the stairs for your coffee. I’m talking the kind of soreness where you might actually be able to hear your abs groan when you take a sharp turn in your car. Yeah.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about… well, then obviously you didn’t used to log 20 hours of dance rehearsals every weekend. I envy you!
Emotional resilience doesn’t come from just being “strong” all the time. It’s about maxing out your strength and hitting your deepest, darkest points that you think you won’t ever get out of. Emotional strength is made by being broken first, in the worst moments of your life.
You know what really creates strength? Balance.
There’s a lot of specific moments that I could point to where I was at my lowest… and I only made it worse by berating myself. I saw my shortcomings as weakness, which turned into shaming my lack of discipline, resilience, positivity, energy, and courage.
Instead of giving my beaten, bruised, exhausted heart the recovery and care that it needed to repair itself and come back even stronger… I beat it down even more.
If you’re having a hard time staying resilient, please do not give yourself permission to go into attack mode against yourself. If you hope that type of action will spark motivation, I am here to tell you- it. won’t. work.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
Take a step back. Ask yourself questions. Why am I resisting? Why am I having a hard time keeping promises to myself? What is my body, mind, and soul yelling at me to recognize? Because if you’re letting yourself down, there’s always a reason. You are a naturally resilient creature. I know it. You just have a problem you’re refusing to pay attention to.
Listening to what you need will not reveal some scary inner monster or imperfection or insurmountable obstacle. It’ll reveal the issue for what it really is. It might even re-route you in the actual right direction.
You know what? I do feel strong. My heart has been weary and broken. Now, I’m trying my best to help it recover.