A Secret of the Strong

I’m going to tell you a secret.

Well, maybe not so much a secret as a barely known fact.

Many of us have that one really strong go-to person in our life. That person that stands as an anchor point in our tumultuous lives; that person that makes time to listen when we need them, who doles out advice that we might not take, but we can see and absorb the wisdom in their thoughts.

Or it might be someone that we never even go to, but simply an individual that stands as a symbol of strength and fortitude. The person that, just by being there, by remaining calm and rational; assures us that we can make it, too.

In our minds that person often stands as a paragon of our given values. A wellspring of those strengths that we feel we lack. Flawless in their own inner strength and self-confidence, rarely, if ever, really knowing a single moment of self-doubt, or experiencing a chink in their shining armor of fortitude and conviction of their place in this crazy world.

Some very lucky people may know more than one of these folks, but that is not the norm because they are exceedingly rare. They are not your everyday person. They are often one person amongst a group of friends.

And yet they are often very alone.

For many of those individuals, they love what they do for others. They take pride in the fact that they provide something so precious to so many people. They stand alone in their role and they are wary of anything that might compromise it.

And that sets them apart.

You see, most of those really strong people don’t have what so many take for granted. They don’t have what they so generously are for others. They don’t have a go-to person like themselves.

Certainly that is what so many admire about them. They don’t need such a person! That is what we admire about them, what we revere in them. They are the epitome of personal strength!

At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. And certainly so many of those strong people tell that to themselves as well. They persevere, pushing forward, back straight, mind clear, unwavering in their own resilience and durability. Because they know that the moment there is any doubt that they can fulfill that role, that anyone suspects they have even an inkling of self-doubt or indulge in a second of self-criticism, people will stop coming to them.

That thought is devastating.

Because for many of those strong people, they are so set apart that their status has become central to their own lives. It can become their purpose, or at the very least their largest driving purpose; their raison d’etre, so to speak.

They may be surrounded by friends and admirers, but their own strength becomes their prison, and they are still set apart.

So they cannot go to one of their friends, or feel that they cannot. Often, if they try, they are met with comments that to the regular person may sound innocent enough, but to that person of strength it is a clarion bell, a warning to not continue with an admission of any kind of weakness. Comments like “I never thought of you as the kind of person to have any self-doubt” or “There’s no way that you could possibly lack self-confidence”.

We don’t want to believe that the ones among us who keep us from falling apart might have problems as well.

These phrases stand as a warning because it happens all the time. People who love each other tend to refrain from going to one another if they feel they are imposing on the other, and if a person of strength admits any weakness, the ones who love them may hesitate to keep going to them. And this only exacerbates any problems.

Here’s the secret, all of need to have a go-to person at one time or another, even our go-to friends among us.

And those that stand as the rock for others need to be able to rely on that without fear they might lose their status, their purpose.

Just try to remember, everyone is fighting their own battles. Our heroes aren’t flawless, and are far from perfect. They need, too. They may need to wallow, or cry, or question- and they often do in privacy. It always helps to have a shoulder.