Perhaps those who know me well would say that my biggest “addiction” – or behavior that I can’t put down – is my need to be strong. Strong enough. Stronger than others. Stronger than you’d expect.
(Some might even say that’s why I lift heavy weights.)
And yet when a friend recently pointed it out to me…again…all I could do was raise two fingers to her in a (loving) curse at how right on she was.
I’d explained two recent situations to her that were, to me, unrelated, and that I was doing my best to learn from. One involved a relationship and how I was (still) compelled to potentially try harder to fix it. And one involved a physical challenge that I was facing and how I had given up and given in to a way out.
“You know,” she said. “You know they sound similar to me. It sounds like, in both cases, you found a way that works for you and keeps you happy and healthy and whole. And then you decided you would do without that way that works for you, to prove how strong you are.”
Hence the two middle fingers pointed in her direction. It hurts in such a good way when someone points out for me my fallible thinking and behaviors. Especially the ones I just don’t see.
I do do that. I somehow think that being strong means that I don’t need protection, or help, or things that make it easier. I somehow think that I have to show how tough I am and prove that I don’t need anything. I even (seriously) asked both my husband and my oldest child if they would somehow think less of me if kept doing the things that work for me instead of soldiering through. They both said something to the effect of, “Are you crazy? Of course I won’t.”
Sometimes (often) it’s a show of strength to not be strong. Sometimes (often) it’s a show of strength to ask for help. To find something or someone that works for you, and to keep at it rather than giving it up to prove something. Something that apparently doesn’t need proving.
I will keep lifting heavy weights. And I will keep, most likely, cursing (lovingly) at my friends and loved ones who point out my crazy, warped thinking. And I will keep doing the things that keep me happy and healthy and whole…and do my best to laugh when my crazy, warped thinking tries to convince me otherwise.
That, my friend, is true strength.
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