Advice for strong people who aren’t coping…

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Strong people are used to coping. They are used to leading.  They are used to taking charge.  Strong people are able to put their own hurt and exhaustion aside when others rely them, or the job needs to get done. They are not good at sharing their pain or asking for help.

You know who I mean. They front up to life each day, often with a smile on their face, and you’d never know how tough it is for them to keep doing that. The single parent juggling two jobs and an impossible ex. The husband living with a wife with severe depression. The mum whose child has an addiction issue; the oncologist who doles out bad news all day; the person with a mountain of debt and a health problem; the teacher motivating kids who come from homes where no-one cares; the manager running a department fraught with problems and no end in sight; the short-handed team trying to meet a crazy deadline; the calm poised person who turns up to work each day, but who goes home to loneliness or a horrid family or spouse.

When strong people keep coping (or appearing to cope) with life’s pain and hardships, it’s easy for others to make demands on you.  They see you standing strong, and they forget what you have been through, what you are going through, what lies ahead of you. They keep looking to you for leadership.

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And the truth is, most strong people can keep on functioning, even when they feel dead inside, completely broken, and in the deepest despair.

Strong people were built to cope, and when you aren’t coping (even though no-one may know that), it is vital that you get some time out, find some support, or make some decisions that help you move back to your natural state of strength.

When you are a strong and capable person, you shine brightly.  That’s why people turn to you, follow you, ask for your advice. And often when people are leaning on you for strength, they want and need you to be who you always portray yourself as, who you’ve always been for them.  Even if you are affected by the same issue, it’s likely they won’t see how exacting this toll has been on you.

Image from photostock.com

Sometimes, it’s because you hide it so well.

Sometimes it’s because people don’t even realise that you might hurt, that you might need help yourself.

Sometimes it’s because needy people, in their own world of hurt, have no idea that you might be suffering too.

So, my strong friend – look after you. Withdraw if you must, regroup, find your feet. Close the door to others if there is nothing left within you to give. Little birds must sometime fly, no matter how reluctant they may be to leave your nest.

Often some time for self-nurture or a break away from the stress is all you’ll need before you are refreshed and ready to carry on.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

But you might need greater support, a counsellor, a change of scenery, an ending…

If you do, then seek that support or change. Life is too short and precious to live it on your knees.

Do what gives you relief. Value yourself as much as you value the wants and needs of others.
I hope you find strong arms to support you.  Sometimes that’s family – or friends can often be that support where family fail to measure up.

But I have found over time, as have many of my own dear friends, that there are times when we walk alone except for God.  And that is how we find that strength within that helps us understand that we really can deal with anything life throws at us, no matter how awful or frightening or abhorrent, and that no matter how we might not like it, we can and do deal with it the best we know how, which is always all we are ever asked to do.

As a strong person you’re a bright light in the world for so many gloomy and frightened souls, so many stuck or lonely or directionless beings.  It is your choice to be that bright light, but it is also your calling – you can’t help but be who you are.  When you are the teacher, when you are the Colonel, the Queen, the leader, when you are the one at the front of the class, everyone else looks to you.  They don’t see you as a person any more, they see you as Teacher, Healer, Captain, Wise Woman, Father, Madam Muse.  And you ARE all those things.

But you’re also the person they won’t or can’t acknowledge.  The person who is tired and frightened and battle weary.  They need to see you strong because seeing you strong gives them faith and hope that their own lives will be okay somehow.  When you are championing them, you are helping them to know that there is a light within themselves.  You give them hope to believe in themselves.  It is only after, when they have found their own light within that they will be able to acknowledge your darkness, and your humanity.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

I know you have the strength to get through this too. It’s okay if you need to pull back for a while. Resting and healing will help you to keep shining one day when you’re ready to be that thing again.

It’s a tough act, being a responsible grown up amongst so many who are still finding their feet.  I’m sending all love your way, and including you in my prayers and meditations. ♥

41 thoughts on “Advice for strong people who aren’t coping…

  1. Hi Nicole,
    Well today I have woke feeling much stronger within myself and can feel my confidence returning and when I saw the title of your post I was compelled to come and read this right now. I relate to what you are saying. I have really learnt over the past month the power of rest and of listening to both my body and my intuition.
    namaste xxoo

  2. Wonderful Post. Most of time, when I read something that beautiful, I am speechless and can’t find the right words to comment. I sometimes feel good when I am told that I am strong, and some other times I get upset. I get upset, because there are tiimes when I need them to see I need help, that I am hurting too, but for some reason most of people only see the strength and chose not to listen, but instead to rely on you for help. Thank you, Thank you so much for this great post.

  3. hi, great timing with this one… broke my ankle yesterday, just before the busiest six weeks of this year…. my first art show in three weeks, house should be ready to move into in 4 weeks, new youth group starting next Friday, not to mention all the school p&f functions and the normal driving to school and general living with children. but look on the bright side I must need a rest, why else would God present me with this forced layup…. just have to get others to appreciate this fact.
    thank you once again for your wise words <3

  4. Great post! I too, am one of the strong people and have suffered a lot in the past with a failed marriage, raising two teenage daughters, running a business, not to mention the emotional battle of living with a eye deformity for fifty years. I had to simplify my life to survive emotionally. I began to seek out my inner self and admit I needed support. I found it and it changed my life. I now lead a simple yet very abundant life…. (hugs to you)

  5. A great post Nicole, we all need a reminder that no matter how strong we are and the facade we show others, we need to nurture ourselves, love and acknowledge those strong qualities and know that it is ok if we come to a grinding halt ourselves. Sometimes it is really difficult to ask for help – help is all around, from the trees, nature, Spirit,the Universe and friends who truly understand and even perhaps a stranger who you strike up a conversation with whilst waiting in the line at the supermarket, the bus stop. There is help, assistance all around. I was one of these women who did everything, then everything came tumbling down. It took time to realise that I was not Superwoman. I even penned a short book called The Demise of the Superwoman – great healing through writing. thank you Nic for your help, wisdom, love you give so freely to all. xxx

  6. Hi Nicole,
    I have been so busy over tha past week I flagged your post to read later. LOL. It seems later has meant today when I’ m being kept in bed and forced to rest and relax. I have to accept I do have everything under control and the wedding (my wedding) has most of the organizing, if not done completely, then simply needs the finishing touches done.
    You know, place cards, bonbonierre and a couple of dance lessons so I don’t look as though I really do have two left feet!
    So ,many thanks for your post. They are always so ‘spot on’, (loved your owl story. That very same day we found an owl roosting in the tree in our front garden – loving them I was thrilled).
    Stay safe and well Nicole. Much love to you Susan

  7. Great post i can relate to that.Have been looking after myself for a few months now.Was feeling selfish not working,but hey i need the rest.I love being home alone!

  8. Yes Nicole…. I recognised that even big trucks can rust…and need a good clean, service and a fresh coat of paint! … just as I do at times… a good cleanse and honouring of my body and time in the workshop being tended to and nurtured….ready to come out to do my work again – bright and shiny; fresh and new again! (no new paint or skin jobs for me though…my wrinkles are my experience lines! hehehe)

    Love Julie

    • I think there is always a magical creative gift for allowing ourselves time for rest and renewal.
      And I’m with you, I’ll be growing wrinklier, although hopefully healthy on the inside and outside.
      Much love to you
      xx

  9. I found that motherhood brought a strength that I never, ever, imagined I had…and spent many years handling very difficult teenage challenges… I wish I had seen a post like this one at the time…to encourage me to pull back and rest and self nurture. But that degree of difficulty and effort also contributed to the level of compassion and empathy I feel today…and now I’ll do anything I can to help another mother’s child…and to help sooth that mother’s fear and worry. Thankfully, I’ve felt renewed and ready to help others.

  10. Well said. I had this exact feeling just a few days ago. For me, I just need to remind myself that no matter how awful my situation is, there is always someone who’s got it worse. Not that everyone isn’t entitled to their emotions, but thinking about others less fortunate always makes my problems sort of pale in comparison.

  11. Hello!I am impressed by your posts, and i wanted to appreciate them.So true, we should be strong enough to lift others when they are down, but we don’t need to hide during times when we are weak.My personal experience is, that we are too obliging towards others in being there when they need us.This complacency makes us go beyond our capacity of strengths.Looing forward to your posts :)

  12. Hello!I am impressed by your posts, and i wanted to appreciate them.So true, we should be strong enough to lift others when they are down, but we don’t need to hide during times when we are weak.My personal experience is, that we are too obliging towards others in being there when they need us.This complacency makes us go beyond our capacity of strengths.Looing forward to your posts :)
    @Sheryl:You are a symbol of strength!People like you are encompassed by God, He’ will never let you grow weak, believe in His support!Don’t let anyone or anything make your life miserable!Enjoy & Take Care!

    • Thanks for your post! I agree that strong people often overstretch themselves, and forget to nurture and take care of themselves – but ingrained habits can be so hard to break. Compassion all round!
      Much love to you xx

  13. Thank you for this post. I’m struggling to be strong at the moment and struggling to be kind to myself. It is good to read words like this.

    • Kindness is the most important thing. To yourself most of all. Know that this current difficulty will pass, and that you ARE strong enough to get through this and out the other side. Much love to you xx

  14. Such a beautiful post! I so needed this. I was always there for people when they needed me and they were never grateful and even wanted to hurt me instead. I still don’t get, why. Absurd. Someone told me recently that as a strong person I need to accept this as is and avoid weak people “sucking my blood”. Good advice but sometimes hard to follow.

    Your post tells me that there are other people who understand my problem. Thank you so much! I printed out this post for self-help in hard times!
    Love you for that!

    Catherine,
    Really grateful person

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