Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

I get “you’re so strong” a lot.

This is a complement that is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I want it. I don’t just want it, I fashion my response to events specifically so that I give people this exact impression. I want to appear strong, confident, steadfast, even when I’m weathering horrific storms. So I guess I should say I work for it. Hearing “you’re strong” is a goal.

On the other hand, I set myself up for failure with this. I can’t always be strong. There are going to be points in my life (hello! now!) that I’m struggling with things I “should have” dealt with better, stronger, faster.

Ultimately, though, this is really more of a more complex version of “happiness is a choice.” I think that, for many things, strength barely has anything to do with my brain. I mean my emotions, fears, anxiety loops… they’re only related to how “strong” I am by association. Strength, to me, is how I react to events.

I’m going to go totally cornball, but here’s a quote from Sleepless in Seattle that sums up EXACTLY how I think about being strong:

Get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out.
-Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks)

Yup.

And the other part of that is that, even when I don’t feel like I can ever wake up again, I pretend that I can. When I feel like the biggest wussy-wuss of life, getting upset, sad, emotional, cranky, or spun out over issues, I act like I’ve got it under control. When I do that, it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Act as if you already are.
-Terrence Mahon

I’m not going to pretend to be modest about this. Life is not easy and I am strong. I’m not strong because I possess some extra super coping-capabilities. I’m strong because I chose, every day, to act strong. To pretend I am strong.

I guess this is like the opposite of the anxiety loops I talked about on day one. (I feel like a lot of this stuff is going happen a lot as this month continues…)

Anyways, that’s my secret. You gotta’ front it, homes.

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6 thoughts on “Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.”

  1. Pretending in order to keep going is the only form of courage I know.

    Interestingly, in dealing with my empathy-challenged, socially illiterate child, I discovered the key to coaching her behavior — i.e. fixing her attitude — is telling her to pretend. “You don't have to feel this way deep down. You just have to pretend well enough to convince me and Daddy.”

    This was manna from heaven. She gets it. And then I realized, well, that's social behavior in a nutshell, isn't it?

  2. I can't tell you how much I nodded along with this one. It can be a struggle to have a tired day/week/month when you're a natural born fighter.

    And all your prompts have been awesome. Keep rocking, chicka! 🙂

  3. You are so correct. It is all about choice. I do, however, to believe that those who make the choice to act strong…are strong. There are many who choose differently and end up in awful places in life. This is a thoughtful post…

  4. I get this too. I don't react to people with emotion and typically am the one who comes out on top. My secret? I am probably one of the most emotional people you've ever met (or not, whatever). It is a gift and a curse.

  5. My conclusion after 55 years of experience is that to get us up in the morning, God created us with a need to go to the bathroom. Once we're on our feet, there is a chance we stay in that position for a little while at least.

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