I used to be strong.
I used to think that my ability to hold it together was a mark of success. That not breaking down meant I was somehow better than if I hit the floor sobbing. I thought that not showing people how deeply their actions and words hurt me, meant they had less power over me, building up a thick skin around my tender heart in an attempt to stay safe.
I felt, and still feel, everything so deeply, but I portrayed the exact opposite on the outside so I didn’t appear weak because, in my mind, if I appeared weak, that just gave someone more of an opportunity to hurt me.
As a result, I spent much of my life being strong, holding myself together, and always trying to figure things out on my own without asking for the help or support of others. As a secondary result, I also spent a lot of time feeling very lonely and disconnected from the very intimacy that I craved the most.
What I hadn’t realized all that time was that by building a wall around my heart to protect it from the pain of being hurt or rejected, I’d also built the wall around the deepest part of my heart that longs to be touched, caressed and adored. And I notice with each passing year that I am alive, more and more people living behind this same wall, the trials of life causing them only to build their wall taller and wider over time, allowing less and less in.
When did we decide that keeping it together was better than falling apart? When did we decide that holding our emotions inside and stuffing them to the furthest corner where they can’t be felt or accessed, somehow makes us strong?
Our emotions and willingness to be vulnerable in expressing them are what connects us to each other. And if we aren’t here living to connect with other souls and hearts, what’s the point of being here at all? To sit alone and check off all the successes and accomplishments we hoped to complete off our list? But, what’s the joy in any of that if it’s not shared?
Without connection, intimacy and love we’ve missed the entire point of life all together.
Yet, no one actually told us this.
No one sat us down as children and told us how incredibly important every emotion that curses through our body is to our growth and expansion as an individual. No one told us that allowing another person to witness us feeling these emotions, in all our vulnerability, it what makes two hearts come together as one. No one told us that it doesn’t matter how much money we make in this lifetime, what we accomplish, how many plaques we acquire, or how perfect we look… that all these things by themselves are actually totally fucking empty. They forever leave our connection craving heart, begging for more.
They mean nothing and our relentless pursuit of them disconnects us from that which we really crave – love and connection. How come no one taught us how to get our need for these life supporting vitals met?
Our hearts don’t break so we sew them up tighter and more confined than before the break. I used to believe this too. Rather, they break open to expand and open us up to a deeper truth and an even greater love. If we will choose to let it.
I am still strong. But I operate on a very different definition of strength than I used to.
So what does strength mean to me now…?
Strength means that I am able to move through life honoring my deepest emotions and actually taking the time to feel them, even when I have convinced myself they are wrong. Crying when I need to. Sobbing uncontrollably when my heart hurts. Yelling when anger boils through my blood. Curling up in a ball on my bed and grieving.
Strength mean reaching out and asking for help and support when I feel like the emotions are taking me over, or when I just need a trusted ear to talk to, someone to help me remember my own worthiness and value in this world when my mind slips into darkness and I can’t remember it for myself.
Strength means ultimate honesty. Telling the truth about how I’m feeling and what I’m going through, ignoring the voice of shame running on repeat in the back of my mind, and deciding instead that whatever I’m going through is okay and that through sharing that truth with another, we grow closer together.
Strength means giving myself permission to fall apart, knowing my falling apart is only temporary and that in allowing myself to do so, I can come home to myself in a way that I’ve never experienced before. Sometimes falling apart is the strongest thing you could possibly do.
And hey, that’s okay.
Strength means not hiding my successes and celebrating my life. Honoring all that is beautiful and radiant in me rather than playing small in an effort to make others feel comfortable. It means jumping for joy, expressing my love and sharing my deepest happiness with others.
I find strength in my softness. In my realness. In my ability to honor whatever is going on in my life in this moment, despite my ego’s insistent opinions about it. I find strength in my vulnerability and my willingness to open my heart a thousand times in a thousand different ways, no matter how many times it gets hurt because…
Love, connection and intimacy are my ultimate purpose.
Love, connection, and intimacy will forever be my ultimate purpose.
Will you join me in being strong?
It’s time to come home to yourself and that, my dear, requires a whole new definition of strength.