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)
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.
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.