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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ♥