We tend to have a very weird, one-dimensional definition of strength. We associate physical strength with being muscular and bulky and lifting a hundred kilos. We associate mental strength with stoicism and knowing how to deal with everything. But here’s the thing. Asking for help is a fine display of strength. Showing your emotions openly? That’s strong as well. Being human and having vulnerabilities and embracing said vulnerabilities is strong.
I have spent way too many precious years of my like having an absolutely juvenile idea about strength. I have spent way too many hours crying behind closed doors, thinking that I would look weak if someone saw me sobbing like that. I have spent so much of my life treating my strength like a fragile little glass vase at the edge of the table, which could fall at the blink of an eye and shatter into a million pieces.
Not anymore though. I’ve come to realise that my strengths lie in my vulnerabilities; in my heartbreaks (and subsequent suffering), in my unsuccessful dance performances and failed exams. My strength lies in all the trials and all the errors. Because I survived and emerged from all of them, did I not? I figured a way to deal with all my shortfalls. Yes, I spent hours crying and cursing myself for all the botched experiments of life. But that’s the thing about strength. It’s in these moments of doubt, contempt, sorrow and melancholia that I find immense strength. Dealing with these things while functioning daily as an adult is no walk in the park; it takes immense strength.
It might be time to change the kind of notions that we associate with strength. Maybe we should consider a display of our weaknesses as a strength? Maybe we should step away from associating emotional strength with stoicism? Maybe we should try and look at the strength in our vulnerabilities?