Three Strengths – One You Don’t Want

 

You’re so strong! How many times have I heard that throughout my 66 years? But it’s true.

I have physical strength –

Emotional stamina –

And willpower –

Muscular arms and legs, probably earned from early years lifting hay bales and running through farm fields doing all the tomboy things I loved, still ripple under loosening skin. And by sheer force of will, I’ve maintained my weight and continue a regimen of daily exercise.

But looking back, emotional stamina was a double-edged sword. On the positive side, it kept me sane when my world, at various times, sank into the abyss. But the dark underbelly of that strength hindered me from moving out of difficult places. I knew I could manage extreme mental anguish so I did. Rather than change what I was doing, make different choices, I stayed and endured far too long.

Both pride and fear played a role. I proudly maintained a placid surface when inside chaos raged. I was complimented on my calm demeanor by co-workers, even complete strangers. My ego, undernourished as it was, feasted on those crumbs of praise and preferred the safety of known misery and a well-studied façade, to the terror of change.

There’s a high price for being strong. It took many years to realize that the same emotional resilience that enabled me to withstand destructive situations without losing my mind, could also be mustered to chart a healthier course. It’s the same muscle, but the more I practiced releasing it instead of gripping tight and hanging on, the more space opened to other possibilities.

Most people reach a transition point. The timing is different but the catalyst is the same. It’s the moment we grasp the concept of mortality, the uncomfortable truth that we’ve reached a place closer to the end than to the beginning. For many it ignites a mid-life crises. For others, depression. But for me it prompted the question: Is that all there is? And my answer: It better not be! The thought jolted me out of apathy. I became more afraid of staying the same, marking time waiting to die, than I was of change.

Beware of the strength that keeps you hanging on, stuck in an unlived life. Does your jaw clench, your neck stiffen, the space between your shoulder blades ache? Do you breathe shallow in the top of your chest while your stomach constricts? Ask yourself, What do I want more than this? What’s the worst that could happen if I just let go? let go

 

 

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Wiste
    May 04, 2016 @ 10:32:39

    Right on! I have learned not to suffer fools gladly and to release toxic people from my life. Now, I am enjoying being me like no other time in my life and I know you are doing the same.

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  2. Sharon Lyon
    May 04, 2016 @ 14:40:28

    I so resonate to the “strong” observation by others. Very familiar. I used to wish people could see how weary I was at holding that illusion. So I didn’t. I’m not sure I look a lot different to the outside world but I sure feel different inside. I also agree with Susan….no toxic people please!

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      May 04, 2016 @ 20:01:50

      So many women I’ve met have that terrible strength. I hope this and future generations will figure it out before I did and use their amazing inner resources for opening to their own magnificent potential rather than clinging for dear life to the broken familiar.

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  3. dibrandt030
    May 04, 2016 @ 16:04:16

    I am so enjoying your posts,especially this one. Your address was given to me by a good friend who taught me how to blog and set one up ,but has now passed away. I love your post today and can relate to it perfectly. Thank you

    Like

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  4. Marilea
    May 05, 2016 @ 02:13:28

    Wonderfully written. You have articulated a very complex subject artfully concise. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t want to just wait…I want to move forward.

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  5. dibrandt030
    May 13, 2016 @ 08:48:17

    I apologise that your blog has somehow ended up on mine and I don’t know how. It was unintentional. and even though it may match mine, I am trying to move it back. Really sorry… dispies,wordpress.com

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  6. seabrooklr9
    May 22, 2016 @ 04:15:26

    Being the STRONG one has pushed ME out of my own life. I realize that I have no idea what I want or who I really am inside. The STRONG roles I took on completely consumed me. I am trying to pick up the few crumbs of myself that are scattered in the corners.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      May 22, 2016 @ 07:55:49

      Sweep away the crumbs and start fresh. The truth of who you are and what you want resides within. Finding it isn’t so much searching as allowing. Let go of things that don’t serve you and open your heart to welcome yourself back into your own life.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • seabrooklr9
        May 22, 2016 @ 16:04:34

        Thank you for responding to me. I was immediately struck by your comment about about allowing your real self to be as opposed to searching for her. I think that I have been restricting myself so long that I forgot where I was. I will follow your suggestions and start fresh. No more crumb gathering. I will pursue those things that call to me and see what happens. You’re the Best! 😍

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