I have some advice for the brokenhearted. For the sick. For those who feel rundown or run-over. And for those who’ve experienced any type of loss.
And here is it:
If you’re feeling weak. Celebrate your strength.
I know that sounds weird. But it’s absolutely true.
So, I’ll write it again:
If you’re feeling weak.
Celebrate your strength.
When I was finally far enough away from my marriage, after a couple years had gone by, one of the major lessons I learned was that the human spirit is incredibly strong. There’s such comfort in learning that. Knowing that no matter what life throws at me, as long as there is still life, I will survive and I will be okay. It removes a level of fear too. Fear of something bad happening in the future. Fear of not being okay.
I’m not sure how much the removal of that level of fear actually helps. Honestly, I don’t think it helps much. But the one thing I did learn, and the one thing that does help, is that I can be strong when times get tough.
My spirit is incredibly strong.
And so is yours.
The human spirit is incredibly strong.
And here’s the other thing I learned:
When I’m showing my strength, it feels like I’m really weak. And because it feels like I’m weak, I judge myself as being weak.
I’m sure it happens to most of us. But why is that? Why do we judge ourselves this way?
I mean, when a runner is on the last 100 yards of marathon, and she is feeling exhausted and ready to collapse, she doesn’t criticize herself as being too weak.
And when a weightlifter sets his personal best for bench pressing, he doesn’t curse himself for being weak when his arms are barely able to lock out with the weight.
No, we all recognize these are feats of strength. Both those of us watching and those of actually doing it.
So, why is it when things are so tough emotionally and mentally, and we are somehow keeping it together, why do we feel so weak?
Why can’t we see that we’re actually strong and we just feel weak?
Why can’t we just know that we’re strong and actually getting stronger?
Just like the marathon runner and just like the weightlifter.
When I stop to think about it, every time someone feels weak and tired, it’s because they are showing their strength.
In bed because of being sick? Well, that’s your body showing it’s strength by fighting off an illness and learning how to defeat it in the future too.
Work a 16 hour shift and come home and collapse on the couch? It’s because you just worked 16 hours! It’s not because you’re weak.
Live through a horrible car accident but sustain major injuries? Of course you hurt and of course you feel worn out and spent. But obviously it’s not because you’re weak. Of course it’s because of the car accident!
See what I mean?
So if you’re feeling completely wiped out emotionally and/or mentally. It’s not because you’re weak. It’s the opposite. It’s because there is a shit-storm raging and you’re weathering the storm.
I can remember being so wrecked when my marriage was falling apart. I remember not being able to sleep or eat. I remember barely being able to function enough to be a father to my kids who were just in kindergarten and second grade at the time. I also remember feeling so small and weak and judging myself harshly for it.
I felt weak and I cursed myself for being too weak.
But looking back at all of that, now several years later, I see that I wasn’t weak at all. I look back and marvel at how I kept everything together. Now I see how strong I was. But God I didn’t feel that way when I was in the middle of it
More recently with everything that’s happened, I again found myself feeling completely spent and lost. And I silently (and not so silently with my counselor) mentally whipped myself for not being stronger and smarter and tougher. I was too weak. I was too dumb. I was not enough.
That’s certainly how I felt. And it’s how I still feel sometimes.
But I learned a long time ago that we are not our feelings. And we shouldn’t judge ourselves for feeling anything. We can’t control our feelings. We can only control how we react to those feelings.
Yet, even with this knowledge, I didn’t see the lie I was telling myself. But I see it now. And it seems so obvious now that my eyes are open to it.
We are not our feelings. So, just because we feel weak doesn’t mean we are weak.
In fact… I now see it means the exact opposite. It means we’re strong. And it means we’re tough. And it means we are getting stronger and tougher.
Stop and think about this for a minute.
Have you been feeling horrible? Sad? Tired? Spent? Unworthy?
And have you been judging yourself harshly because of it?
Stop and think about it right now. How have you been feeling? Why? And what story are you telling yourself about yourself because of how you feel?
If you’re like me and you’ve been through some crap and it’s affected your mood and you’ve judged yourself as inferior because of it… stop it right now. It’s time to tell yourself the truth.
You are not weak. You are not stupid. You aren’t feeble either.
And the weakness you feel is proof of that.
The weakness you feel proves how strong you’ve been and how strong you are right now. It also proves how much stronger you’re becoming.
Finally see the truth about feeling weak.
It proves you’re strong.