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  • Writer's pictureLiz Wilde LizW

I Hear You

"The Weight of 'You're Strong': 

When Strength Becomes a Burden"

When we are in a positive, happy, fun-loving space, those words can leave us feeling empowered, almost superhuman. "I'm doing good," we think. The world is our oyster. We dance through life, savouring each moment and embracing our strength.

However, in a crisis, when we desperately need help and support, those same words can cut deep.

I have found that when I need support, kindness, and compassion—when I've mustered enough courage to reach out for help—and I hear the words, "You're strong," I wither inside. A hollow void opens up in my stomach. I want to scream, "Yes, I'm strong, but right now I'm not! I need some help!" But the words never come out. Instead, I nod along to advice that barely registers, feeling a growing sense of isolation and despair.

To be told you're strong in a moment of crisis can make you feel as though you shouldn't be asking for help. It suggests you should be able to handle everything, even when the burden feels insurmountable. Despite knowing your strengths, they're overshadowed by the weight of current and past issues, and a sense of helplessness pervades.

Every one of us, at various points in our lives, needs support for different reasons and with varying intensity. It's a universal truth that we all face moments where our strength falters, and in those times, the reassurance and compassion of others become essential.

So, the next time a friend, client, family member, or even a stranger asks for support, consider your words carefully. Acknowledge their crisis, their confusion, and their fear. Offer them the understanding and empathy they seek, not just a reminder of their strength.

Recognize the courage it took for them to reach out. Listen with an open heart and mind, truly hearing their words and the emotions behind them. Offer a comforting presence, letting them know it's okay to feel vulnerable, and that seeking help is a sign of wisdom, not weakness. Share their burden, if only for a moment, by being fully present and attentive.

Sometimes, the most compassionate thing we can do is simply be there, without judgement or unsolicited advice. Hold space for their pain and struggles, validating their experience and offering genuine support. Let them know they are not alone.

Embrace Your Power

Liz Wilde

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