Emotional, Vulnerable, and still Strong?

What does strength really mean? And what about vulnerability? And how can we be strong in hard times, and at the same time feel our emotions and let them be present?

A few days ago I wrote a facebook post where I shared that I was sad about the choice of words that some newspapers follow when writing about our current situation (the corona pandemic). As a result, I received messages of encouragement and support. And as much as they were most likely meant well and supportive, it triggered something inside me.

I simply wanted to share my sadness. It was an emotion that had come up, without feeling the need to change anything about it. I simply wanted to feel that sadness and let it be here and express it. Maybe I shared it because I wanted to show that we are allowed to feel whatever comes up in the current situation.

And: We do NOT have to react to it.

We do not have to suppress it. We do not have to “fix” it. We do not have to do anything with it. Feelings are here to be felt, to receive the information that they convey, and as a result to make holistically informed decisions as best we can.

Especially in current times it is on the one hand important, that we do not cut ourselves off from our feelings and emotions, and to really feel them, observe them, and let them be here, without having the need to control or change anything. On the other hand it is also important to recognize when someone needs help, seeks help, or doesn’t manage to formulate their needs for it.

It doesn’t make a difference, if that applies to ourselves or to others.

We also might need help, and it’s okay to ask for it. Or to simply take the time to look after ourselves. Especially now it is important that we put on our metaphorical oxygen mask first, before we help others with it. And that can also mean in a lot of cases, that we stay home and avoid direct contact with others (aka #socialdistancing). We simply cannot know, if we already carry the virus or not.

We often think, that a heroic act has to be something big, impressive and ego-flattering. That is why it is so hard to be a silent heroine. To do things, that are truly helpful, possibly without someone else ever noticing what we have done.

The true heroes and heroines are those that do the things because they are necessary, and because they truly help others, even when they know that they won’t receive a medal or recognition for it.

How do you understand your role?

  • Do you want to be strong for others and in doing so suppress your own feelings, even though you would rather break down, scream, or cry?
  • Do you embrace your feelings, but are worried that others might see you as weak, vulnerable or needy?

Marathon or Sprint?

It doesn’t matter what happens on the outside. It’s important to organize and set up your life in a way, that it is also worth living in the long run. To now “briefly stay strong” and overstep your boundaries (doesn’t matter if emotional or physical), only to break down in a week and need help yourself, is not very useful.

And even while I’m writing this myself, I know, that this is an experience that each and every one of us needs to make on our own. I only recently learned in my two-month wilderness experience how important it is to take care of your own needs, and that this might actually be the greatest service you can provide for your community.

Explore for yourself

I therefore invite you, to not just swallow everything I say. I don’t have the answer for how it is for you. You can only find that out for yourself. And you will find it by looking very closely at your patterns in this aspect of your life, and possibly change them if necessary.

How often do you allow yourself to truly feel your feelings and emotions and let them be here? How often do you respect your own boundaries? And where is it fear, and you’re actually hiding in your comfort zone and you don’t even look or explore your boundaries or what you might be capable of?

In case you need support with exploring those questions, drop me a line at elisabeth@followyourwildheart.org and maybe I can be of service to you.

Emotional, Vulnerable, and still Strong?
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