Mental and emotional strength is something that is hard to measure. Physical strength has people lifting weights and showing off muscles. Physical endurance is often measured by miles ran, walked, swam. How is mental or emotional strength measured?
Sometimes it seems the strongest people mentally keep themselves together all the time. They can go through hard stuff and not flinch. The ones with emotional strength can cry when it’s time to cry but they don’t linger. They move on with grace and dignity. That’s what society would have us believe at least.
I question this measure of strength. I don’t think mental and emotional strength can be calculated or seen. The strength of the person who seemingly has it all together might not be strength at all. In fact they may be stuffing all of their emotions deep down, something we all know is very unhealthy. They might not show emotion because they don’t know how to properly express emotion. Maybe they care so much what people think they hurt themselves in the process.
People tell me all the time how strong I am. How I’ve survived so much and that is strength. I don’t understand this logic. I’m suicidal all the time- this feels like the ultimate form of weakness. It wasn’t until I started reframing my thoughts that I started to understand. My strength comes from endurance. I endure a pain every single day that I think a lot of people wouldn’t be able to handle. I think of ending it all but I don’t pull the trigger. When I have attempted suicide I’ve not taken enough to be killed. I’ve cried out for help. I show my vulnerabilities to those around me. Maybe that is true strength. Maybe strength come in other ways as well.
People shouldn’t be judged by the strength we can see with our human eyes. We don’t know the how hard the mind is fighting every day. We can’t begin to know how another persons past has effected them. In reality, I think all people are strong. We all have issues and things we have to overcome. The important thing is not to judge someone for how they handle their battles. To the homeless drug addict, we have no idea what they have gone through. As humans, our only goal is to figure out how to love someone more perfectly.
I hope people wouldn’t measure my strength in suicide attempts. In the same way, instead of judging, take that person by the hand and show then a better way. Be a friend. It’s easier to lift a bolder with the help of a friend. Be that person. There are some days I feel I have no strength at all. In those times I rely on my family, friends, God, to lift me up. I’m living not on my own strength. I couldn’t do this alone. No one can do this thing we call life alone. We are social creatures, built for community. Let’s lift each other up. As one body together-we are strong.