When ‘Being Strong’ is just really ‘Acting Tough’

We’ve all been there.

There are moments in our lives that we wish we hadn’t done, words we shouldn’t have said, choices we should have not picked, persons we shouldn’t have trusted, opportunities we shouldn’t have wasted, things we shouldn’t have taken for granted. We have all in the “been there, done that” phase and we regret it over and over again.

In our road to regaining our self-esteem, to being on track where we should be heading, to be focused again on our destination, we have promised ourselves numerous times that “This time I’ll be strong,” “I won’t let it happen again.” NEVER AGAIN.

The fire within us to never make the same mistake again because as the old adage says “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” leads us into this defensive position where we ought to always look out for ourselves only, to trust no one, and that to be weak is to lose again. To have a pure, innocent, compassionate, forgiving heart is unacceptable. And so we let the membrane of our hearts freeze into cold fortresses that no one could ever enter. We built walls so tall and strong that we ourselves forgot how to tear it down and see that we are not alone in this world.

It is in this time that we discover we are not really being strong… we are just acting tough.

We think we are being strong when truthfully we are faking it… we are just acting the part.

We hate to admit in ourselves that we are really softhearted and kind.

We forgive and forget. We overlook past wrongs and give second chances… that we choose to remember no more.

We love dearly and we forgive sincerely.

We feel what others feel, we sympathize, we care… we choose to care.

We love and we treasure.

We remember, we cherish and we immortalize.

But, don’t we just hate that! Don’t we just refuse to be that person anymore!

So, we change ourselves to be the ever hateful and vengeful witches and princes in fairy tales and vow to make anyone who wronged us suffer. We cut off people in our lives, we tend to be alone more often, we find it hard to trust people, and we no longer believe that good things will still come… we become stunted.

Worse, we become cowards, hiding behind the curtains of our rooms satisfied with the light of the lamp on our table when the sun is out there shining its brightest for us. We act out our fears and raise high our defenses to anyone we encounter. We refuse to resolve our issues and instead pick out on others. We try to prove ourselves daily because we think this will redeem us. We boss others around to feel superior because to go down in their level means to relate to them, to open up, to be transparent – and that we vow never to do again.

How sad it is that we punish ourselves for simply being human. For being innately kind, loving and trusting. We torment ourselves for that one past mistake that we did all because we loved, we opened up, we trusted.. all because we are just being ourselves at that moment… all because we are just being human capable of erring.

To be strong is really to know oneself. Once we acknowledge who we really are and be reconciled with it, there’s no force in the world that can take us down, no amount of doubt that will make us stumble. Our knowledge of ourselves makes us sturdy as our place in this world. Likewise, acknowledging that we are tenderhearted and kind – is what really makes us into the strongest version of ourselves. 🙂


pic credit to McD22