February 26, 2017

On strength…

By In LifeBalance

Rock bottom.

Have you been there? That place where everywhere you turn there is dark, and when you try to feel your way out you realize there are walls on every side. You try to call for help only to realize you have no voice. You try to shed a tear but those too have dried up. You crawl inside your head to find an answer, to function, to maneuver, to escape… but it’s dark there too. And you are alone. BUT for your beating heart which is a constant reminder you are indeed living through it all. And you realize, that’s the answer, your heart. Your heart will get you through.

“Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on but you keep going anyway,” said a very wise person. Looking back on my rock bottom, strength was the last quality I felt like I had going for me. Defeated, powerless, frail, inept… Now these were virtues I could’ve owned up to at that time in my life. It’s difficult honestly to even bring myself back to that feeling of utter exhaustion from simply being human.

My sweet sister-in-law gave me a gift for Christmas two years ago. She gave the same necklace to my sister and mom, each carefully chosen with a word to represent how she sees us.  On mine the word “strength” hangs on the pendant. It was honestly the first time after my divorce that I reflected on how much strength it took to march through it all. The fact that someone else acknowledged what I didn’t consider, was what made it possible for me to even contemplate it. I was selling myself short of the magnitude of that experience and the mental, and at times physical, persistence of the pain.

Does strength really grow in our darkest moments? I certainly didn’t believe it then, but now I know it to be true. I was a shell of a human in my marriage. I had lost the capacity to love myself, which seeped into every other avenue of my life. I lost joyfulness and hope.  Hitting the bottom forced me into the light. It forced me to recognize what I knew in my heart for many years. My surroundings did not match my soul, and that was the true reason for my disappointment and devastating feelings of failure.

Strength comes in many forms. It can look like the finish line of a half marathon, the patience of getting the kids out the door on a school day, the courage to walk away from a bad influence, or the simple act of truly forgiving yourself and loving yourself enough to feel whole again. The thing is, these events, some big and some small, have given me the confidence to see that I am strong and was all along. We all are. Oftentimes what we see in ourselves as weakness is simply honest vulnerability which is, in my opinion, the truest form of strength and courage.

If you’ve signed up for the heartheaded newsletter you’ve already become aware that I am a huge Brene Brown fan (if you haven’t signed up you are missing out on so many more deep thoughts!). When I read her book “Rising Strong,” I felt like she was speaking directly to me. She says, “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” And I believe her. For a peek into my all- time favorite, book click the link below, and prepare to fire up Amazon to get a copy to your doorstep ASAP, I hope you have Prime!

Excerpt from Brené Brown’s Rising Strong: The Physics of Vulnerability

1 Comment
  1. Nancy Middlestead March 2, 2017


    While ready the blog on strength. I have always felt like you had strength., but I do know what it is like to not be aware of our strengths. something that I have learned as a nurse practitioner is I will never know everything and that’s ok. I used to let the not knowing everything hold me back. Once I was able to let go of that I realized that my anxiety has decreased.

    I enjoy reading your blogs


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