We live in a society that rewards the “strong.” Its a badge of honor if you can withstand the chaos, the stress, the wounds, the overwhelm.
Many aren’t allowed to feel hurt, sad, disappointed. You power through because that’s what you’ve been taught. It’s what’s acceptable. You’ve tried to let it out, to share bits of yourself with them, but your discomfort is too uncomfortable for others to bear. They prefer the “put together” version of you. Your pain reminds them of theirs. So you hold it all in.
Unfortunately… this back fires. I know this because I was the “strong” one for years. I put on the smile and accomplished all the things and didn’t slow down long enough to look at my hurting parts. I thought the busier I stayed, that I could manage it. It would go away.
It didn’t. Instead it festered just beneath the surface. It wasn’t obvious for a while… some minor headaches, stomach pain, sleepless nights. But then it started to snowball. Serious GI issues, migraines, panic attacks. I’d cry from the exhaust + then explode at those I loved + then numb out to avoid it all… round and round I’d go. I was living on egg shells within my own skin. At this point, I feared slowing down because I was afraid of what I’d find. I feared myself but I was stuck in a cycle and I didn’t know how to stop.
My pain wasn’t making me stronger.
It was making me suffer.
I now honor my wounds. I listen. I give them space to breathe. That’s all they needed. To be heard, felt, accepted. The harder I tried pushing them away, the louder, more painful they became. Maybe to be the strong one then, is to actually be the soft one, to feel it all. Society has it wrong.
Today, most of my wounds are faint scars, reminding me of my precious journey. They no longer hold me captive. They don’t cause me much suffering. They taught me so much. For this I am grateful.