A conversation that I had today completely changed my perception on what it means to be strong. We throw the word around in times of hardship – "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", "you'll get through this, you're a strong person", "I admire your strength" – without thinking about what it really means.
I never thought I was a strong person. I'm highly sensitive, incredibly emotional, and it only takes one sad moment to turn me into a blubbing wreck. I'm going through a hard time at the moment and in the past two days I have cried on people in both the dining hall and the library, is that really so strong?
Actually yes, I think it is.
I'm coming to believe that strength is quieter than we perhaps might believe it to be. Strength is having the courage to tell people when things aren't going so well, being vulnerable with them, and seeking the help you need.
Sometimes strength can be picking yourself up off the floor after sobbing in a ball, or choosing to go for a walk instead of hurting yourself. These little decisions are what makes someone strong: the choices to continue with the motions of life when it's the hardest thing to do.
And sometimes there is strength is knowing when you don't have to be. In taking those moments to be sad, and to cry, and to look after yourself. If that means hiding away for a while when that's the best thing for you, then good for you for knowing to do it.
You are stronger than you think you are, congratulate yourself on that once in a while.