What Does ‘Being Strong’ Even Mean?
“I’m trying to stay strong, but it’s tough.”
That’s what one of my clients said to me the other day. As she summed up how things felt for her. In relation to a ‘sticky situation’ she found herself in.
My immediate, perhaps counter-intuitive thought, in response:
- What if you didn’t have to ‘stay strong’?
Yes, what if you didn’t have to stay strong?
What would happen then?
What would happen if you could let go of who you think you have to be all of the time, and allow who you are in the moment to express itself instead?
What would it be like if you could be okay with whatever was showing up for you in any given moment?
What would it be like if you could stop pretending?
What if you didn’t have to stay strong?
Seriously, take a moment now, and allow yourself to wonder on this… (whatever strong means to you) what if you didn’t have to stay strong?…
What Does It ‘Mean’ to be Strong, Anyway?
…Not that being ‘strong’ isn’t a good thing, don’t get me wrong.
‘Strong’ can be supportive, ‘strong’ can get things done, and ‘strong’ can be resilient and clear and calming.
(At least that’s what I’ve been told!)
But what does it mean to be strong? For you?
- Does it mean always having the answers, always understanding, and always being able to cope?
- Does it mean never needing help, never feeling weak, and never suffering?
- Does it mean being stronger than someone else, being unaffected by the words of others, and just being tougher than tough?
Is it a behaviour, anyway, or are we really talking about a feeling?
What does it ‘mean’ for you, to be strong?
Maybe there is no absolute definition of ‘strong’. Maybe one man’s ‘strong’ is another woman’s ‘poison’ (to somewhat mangle a meaty proverb).
But I’m sure my client knew what she meant when she told me, “I’m trying to stay strong, but it’s tough!”. (Strong = tough to achieve?) I’m sure she had a good idea of what it means to be strong. In her head.
And maybe that’s all that ‘strong’ is, really: an idea, made up of thought in our head, nothing more.
An idea (or ideal) which has both an individual and collective definition based on an individual and collective ‘culture’.
Meaning: different times, different traditions, different personal perspectives… different definition of the word ‘strong’.
Meaning: ‘strong’ doesn’t mean anything, in particular, really.
(So why would you ever urge yourself to ‘stay strong’?)
Anyway, as it seems the definition of ‘strong’ is just a little bit made up, then, allow me to share with you some of my rather provocative ‘strong’ definitions of my own:
- STRONG: unafraid of weakness; no requirement for things to change (acceptance); no need for others to be strong, too
(What do you think?)
How to Be Happy in a Sad, Mad World
I wrote a book - about happiness - based on blog posts like the one you've just read. It's called Happiness NOW! – How to Be Happy in a Sad, Mad World, and it contains 7 simple questions, the answers to which help point you back to the "happiness within". Are you ready for Happiness NOW?...