The thing about being ‘strong’

You’re the keeper of secrets. You’re the one that people run to for advice about life and love and other ambiguities because you have the God-given wisdom to decipher dilemmas. You are smart, independent, dependable, kind and strong. People look up to you.

You’re the keeper of secrets. You’re the one that people run to for advice about life and love and other ambiguities because you have the God-given wisdom to decipher dilemmas. You are smart, independent, dependable, kind and strong. People look up to you.

And all that is rare and grand. But the thing about being ‘strong’ is that you put up a façade of someone who is invincible to pain and weariness.

You don’t cry. At least not in plain sight because you’re convinced that it’s wrong to let anyone see you fall apart. You don’t mourn loss because you’re too busy holding everyone else together.

You rarely talk to anyone about your problems. When you do, you lie by omission. You don’t say that you don’t know what to do. You don’t say that you’re confused, unhappy or that you feel defeated and you are on the verge of giving up.

Because you’ve never really let anyone in, there is a chance that no one knows you enough to know how to pick you up.

No matter the circumstance, without asking how you are or if you need help, they say: “I know you. You are strong. You will be fine. You will figure it out.”

And all the emotions: pain and unhappiness and insecurity that you keep pushing at the back of your mind are waiting to be felt. You are not free.

To be free, you must be honest with yourself. Yes, that woman hurt your feelings. No, your sense of humour is not advanced enough for you to be okay with the jokes people make about your size. No, you are not emotionless. You want to be taken care of for a change.

You are not invincible to weariness. Your energy and time is limited. So you must take time to regroup. It’s okay to make selfish choices once in a while. To choose yourself above everyone else. To not always be available to put out one fire after another.

There is a chance that you have come to believe that you and only you are your own hero. That no one measures up to your intelligence. That no one can advise you or provide a workable solution to your problems. If this is indeed true of the people in your life, then it’s time to expand your circle. Confront your pride.

When you are ‘strong,’ you are prone to self-condemnation. You beat yourself up for mistakes and errors in judgment and for not being in control. You are hard on yourself. You are hard. But know that you can be strong without being hard. And know that it is impossible to always be in control.

The price of being ‘the strong one’ is loneliness because you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable with your feelings. It’s being misunderstood because you bottle up your feelings. It’s being a doormat and a punching bag because people don’t stop to think that you’re just as prone to anger, hurt and pain as everyone else. And that’s no way to live.

 

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