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A Reminder to Strong Women — It's OK to Not Be OK

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Dear Strong Woman,

I see the pain behind your smile. I know the tears you cry every night in the comfort of your bed. I know how difficult it is to get up in the morning and hide it all behind a smile. I know what goes on in this beautiful mind of yours. There are people who need you, and you can’t let them down. I see you putting yourself at the end of the line because you don’t want people to hurt like you do. I see you fighting your own demons to be there for them. Being strong isn’t really a choice, is it? You become it because of circumstances. You don’t show your pain because you heard that to be vulnerable is to be weak, that crying is a flaw and that you need to get back up as soon as you fall. Yet, you don’t. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK if you can’t. It’s OK. It takes time to unlearn these things —  you were trained to be someone you aren’t.

Strength isn’t about being able to hold in your tears when you feel sad. Strength isn’t about keeping your feelings inside when they’re too intense. Strength isn’t about pretending that everything is OK when your soul is hurting.

Strength is the opposite. 
Strength is allowing yourself to feel whatever it is that you need to feel in the moment. Strength is feeling deep when the world expects you to hide your sensitivity. Strength is finding the courage to speak up in a world that has been cruel to you. Strength is letting people in, no matter how many times you’ve been hurt before. Strength is being able to say, “I’m not OK right now. I need you.” Just remember, it’s OK to need someone. It’s OK to need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to you, a hand to hold. We all need someone to remind us that we’re not invincible — that we are not alone.

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: August 2, 2019
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