When my clients sit across from me, hands folded, eyes narrowed, mouth firmly set, and tell me that no matter what happens to them, they’ll be okay because they’re strong, something inside of me breaks for them.
Not because I disagree that they’re strong, but because they think they’re strong for all the wrong reasons.
Their strength isn’t found in the broken, jaded, cynical, distrusting parts of them. Their strength isn’t the firmness with which they say, “People know better than to cross me.”
Self-protection isn’t strength. Walls don’t make a person strong, they make a person unable to find genuine joy or happiness or fulfillment in life.
Strength is living life fully, knowing that whatever comes, they will have the ability to cope.
Strength is tending to one’s heart. Not denying the importance of one’s heart by saying, “What happened to me is okay because it made me who I am.”
Yes, it made you who you are. And yes, who you are is amazing and beautiful and compassionate and even strong. But that doesn’t make what happened to you okay. And if you are saying it’s okay, YOU’RE not. Saying it’s okay is easy. It eliminates the need to process, grieve, heal.
Sometimes the strongest thing a person can do is cry. Sometimes the strongest thing they can do is say that it’s NOT okay.
Sometimes strength looks more like sorrow.
Sometimes strength feels more like weakness.
My clients deserve better than “strength”. My clients deserve life.