As chronically ill fighters we are constantly being told to stay strong when we are struggling or exhausted by it all, but I wonder how many other people could actually do this over long periods of time … like months? Years? Decades?
It has become a meaningless gesture made worse by its overuse and is now more a throwaway phrase.
Simply put it isn’t human to be strong all the time! No one can be … telling people who are struggling to be strong is unlikely to be helpful when they need it the most.
However people will still say this perhaps because they don’t know what else to say to people who are suffering, and will probably be suffering in some way for the rest of their lives… It’s quite unimaginable.
The fact is that we are strong. If we weren’t we wouldn’t have made it this far! Probably stronger than anyone else has ever had to be for most of their lives!
But no one, I repeat no one, is strong all the time. Telling someone to stay strong may convey the idea that they are not doing their best or being enough.
Sometimes I am not going to be strong and that is ok. Sometimes others will not be strong and that is ok too. It’s the human condition.
If I had told those people who had turned to me for donations, financial assistance, empathy, kindness and help over the years … it’s ok, just be strong! … I am sure I would not have been seen as helpful or understanding in anyway.
What is strength, after all?
Is it the ability to never fall or fail? Is it the ability to never need kindness and warmth from another person? Is it to never need anything for yourself? Is it the ability to never hurt or cry? I don’t think this is strength at all. I don’t think this is even human!
A lot of people may want you to be strong so that you don’t impose upon them, sadly that is becoming more true of society today, and therefore they disguise their true motives behind the statement… But it is not a reflection of the sufferers emotional or physical strength.
Would it not be more important to assure the person that they are not alone in these times? Would it not be more helpful to assure them that their efforts do not go unnoticed? That their pain and suffering has shown what courage they have and what love they have?
I would not be here today without the love, support, devotion, patience, forgiveness, belief, efforts, commitment, reassurance and hope from the ones I love and from myself. Strength is the product of all those things in combination and not one single entity on its own.
Strength is the end result when all the other elements are present and working together, it is not the beginning.