(Spoiler Alert, being “weak” is the secret to being “strong”!)
As moms, we are under a lot of pressure and wear a lot of hats. You already know what I think about balance (that it is a misleading lie and that you should embrace seasons instead- see this blog post). Now I want to dive into what it means to be “strong” in hopes of inspiring you to redefine what it means to you, your family and your life.
Step 1: Throw out all your preconceived notions about what it takes to “be strong.”
Like for real, most of them are just plain old icky or from a generation past! We don’t need to stuff our emotions down to be the “good girls” anymore! We don’t need to put on a “happy face” and pretend that everything is “fine.” This is 2021, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that things change. Now it’s time to change our definition of what it means to be strong!
Step 2: Stop beating yourself up!
Life is hard. This is hard. It is ok! It is ok to feel down and out sometimes. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to yell at your kids once in a while. It’s ok to eat cereal for dinner. It’s ok to let your kids have extra screen time now and then. We are all just doing the best we can amidst this whirlwind life. The goal isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be real! I don’t know about you, but lately I find myself being way too harsh on myself. I would never talk to other people like I talk to myself- so it’s time to put an end to that (or at least dial it back). When we stop beating ourselves up, we free up mental space to deal with what’s actually happening and allow ourselves to access our inner strength to actually move forward.
Step 3: Stop trying to be strong all the time!
Like I said in Step 2, if we stop beating ourselves up, we can use that mental energy to understand how we are actually doing in the moment. But before we can fully do that, we also have to stop pretending to be strong and actually allow ourselves to own up to our actual experience! Which leads to Step 4…
Step 4: It’s ok to be “weak”!
In fact, I think that being “weak” is actually the secret superpower to accessing our true, authentic strength. Admitting that we feel sad, scared, overwhelmed, exhausted, or embarrassed, etc. unlocks our ability to grow. If we don’t ever allow ourselves to breakdown, how can we ever re-emerge in a breakthrough?
It’s a personal-growth life cycle:
Experience a breakdown ->
Admit our weakness/struggle ->
Be vulnerable ->
Reach out to community ->
Cause a breakthrough ->
Experience authentic strength. (Repeat.)
Step 5: Be vulnerable!
Talk to a trusted friend and be real. Don’t sugarcoat. Don’t pretend to be “fine.” Not sure who to talk to? Pray or journal! Lean into your faith and let the universe guide you. Then lean into your community that you worked so hard to build. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, reach out in your time of need. You never know how your vulnerability may be a gift to a friend. When my friends reach out to me with intimate details of their lives, it makes me feel deeply grateful that they feel comfortable and connected enough to me to reach out amidst their troubles. Everyone is going through something and how much better will the world be if we all just admit it and work together instead of trying to appear like we have it all together? When you are vulnerable about your weakness, the coolest thing is that it becomes a catalyst to fortify your true strength.
Step 6: If that’s not enough motivation, think of your kids.
What would you want them to do if they were in your shoes? Would you want them to “be strong”, to suffer in silence and pretend everything was alright? I doubt it! Here’s our chance to model growth and show our kids how it is important and ok to acknowledge what is actually so!
Healthy growth comes from:
- Allowing ourselves to be real/“weak”
- Admitting our problems and shortcomings to ourselves
- Leaning into our faith/spirituality and community
- Letting God/the universe work its magic in our lives
- Cultivating our own deep strength
I know it’s beyond scary. But as my friends at Uncommon Good say, it is “scary good” as it opens us up. I hope that you can lean into your weakness, access your own deep strength and continue to grow into the complex beauty of the amazing human being that you already are! Xoxo