There are many myths about what it means to be strong. In a variety of contexts, I hear people say to each other, “you’re so strong.” Recently, I heard it when a stoic widow gave the eulogy at her husband’s funeral, when a young boy broke his ankle but didn’t shed a tear, and when a teenage girl shrugged off her painful breakup, seemingly unaffected. Is this really strength? Maybe, but it leads into this misconception that equates strength with a lack of feeling.
3 Myths about What it Means to be Strong
Myth #1: Strong people don’t cry.
More factually, strength is the ability to feel emotions and release them appropriately. It takes incredible vulnerability to cry, alone and/or in front of others. It allows us to work through our feelings. Although repressing, avoiding, and suppressing our feelings are coping mechanisms that have a purpose, they should not be our default mechanisms. That is not strength—it’s avoidance!
Myth #2: Strong people don’t complain.
Well, come on, we all complain!! Wallowing in self-pity is different than complaining about unpleasant circumstances for a period of time. Complaining appropriately can allow us to practice acceptance of our circumstances and plan for our next step. And sometimes, it just feels good to let it out!!
Myth #3: Strong people aren’t anxious.
Instead, people who exhibit strength have, like most, wavering confidence. There are so many choices in life and so many things that are uncertain. Strength involves being able to choose a path, relish in its successes, and/or practice acceptance and self-forgiveness when the path leads to a dead end.
Why are these myths a problem? People who acknowledge and express pain, even while demonstrating resiliency, might feel weak and might assume this means they are weak. Strength is about being adaptable to change, recognizing and expressing needs, learning from mistakes, persevering when things get tough, and finding meaning and purpose in adverse times.
Tacianna Indovina, PhD
Dr. Tacianna Indovina knew that she wanted to be a therapist since she was in high school. From that time, her love and enthusiasm for the healing power of psychotherapy hasn’t wavered. It’s a good thing for our community that Tacianna is as enthusiastic as ever for helping people when they feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and alone.
Through her authenticity, gentle directness, and sense of humor, Tacianna works with you to identify patterns of thinking and behaving that may be making it difficult for you to meet your goals. Tacianna’s easy rapport encourages, validates, challenges, and empowers!
With her down-to-earth and relatable style, Tacianna provides counseling for late adolescents, adults, and couples, to provide support to recover from interpersonal loss and trauma, overcome mood struggles, cope with anxiety, and adjust positively to life transitions. Tacianna adapts her approach to what you want and need, and aims to help you build healthier relationships with yourself and others.
Contact Dr. Tacianna to schedule your free initial consultation today!
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