What’s the problem with being a strong woman?
We are tough. We are capable. We endure. We drive ourselves hard. We get crap done! We are the envy of others while we breeze through our days trying to keep all the plates spinning and still managing to make it to spin class. We can do it all, but most of us while looking strong, confident and solid on the outside, are actually kind of a mess on the inside. Those of us who have come to terms with it, talk about it with our girlfriends (Thank God!), but many others still suffer in silence trying to hide the incongruence.
The curse of being a strong woman is that sometimes it is hard to let our walls down and be vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong, being a strong, confident woman is a good thing. We need to be able to take care of ourselves, set boundaries with others, and stand up for what we believe in. But for a healthy life, we also need to be in touch with our softer, more vulnerable side; to let the less confident, weaker side of ourselves show. Being strong all the time and not allowing yourself to be vulnerable may seem like a good way to keep from getting hurt or being disappointed, but it comes at a cost. With your “strong” walls up, you shut out other people and/or limit the depth of the relationships in your life. This is a lose-lose scenario. Those around you miss out on the opportunity to serve you and you spend your life anxiously scrambling to hold it together.
To find a healthy balance . . .
- Figure out what you need. If you grew up in a home where your needs were not seen as normal and healthy, then you likely don’t feel your needs are worthy of being met – at least until you’re ready to blow a gasket. Get a handle on what exactly it is that you need, and give it to yourself or express it to someone close to you that can help you get it.
- Give yourself permission to get your needs met. This falls under the definition of self-care. It should be a daily (not an “oh, I’ve got vacation coming up” kind of self-care). Allow yourself to go to lunch alone, or to take a minute to walk over to the flowers in the grocery store just to smell them, take naps on the weekend, be kind to yourself instead of driving yourself harder.
- Allow others to take care of you or let them take on some of the tasks sometimes. I remember once being asked if I wanted to meet at the restaurant or be picked up at the house. I thought about it for a minute and said I wanted picked up at the house. My reason? Only because it made me feel special and cared for. Such a simple thing, but it mattered to me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to curl up in your guy’s arms and feel safe, warm, and protected.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re exhausted and can’t do it all by yourself or that you just need a good cry. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself or asking for help. And there’s nothing wrong with saying you just want to feel loved and cared for. If you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, you probably are. Once you learn how to let your walls down and your needs start getting met, you should feel that load start to lighten up!