Remember that time in kindergarten when you so desperately wanted to play with that blue toy car that was in the hands of that taller, more extroverted kid and you shoved her, took it out of her hands and she was blamed for the turmoil and you were instantly in the clear because after all, you were that pale, shy, small kid.
Don’t remember? Me neither. I was that more extroverted kid. The one that got blamed because after all, I was taller, more outspoken and by “logical” consequence, the one to blame, right?
I could be angry about that, but being strong has helped me through many things in life.
I’m an entrepreneur. Anyone who’s ever started their own business, no matter how big or small will nod agreeably when I say it takes a whole lot of courage and the proverbial balls to do that. And to persevere.
I know what I want, and I can be incredibly stubborn sometimes, even to a point where it irritates me. But I’m a firm believer of always believing in yourself with a dedicated passion and a clear vision.
Firmly believing in something and standing up for it does not equal arrogance. I believe it’s called being assertive. Saying what you want and voicing how you need things to be done is not about being bossy, it’s about leadership. Recognising opportunities and oozing through problems like it’s nobody’s business, is one of the strongest traits of a visionary.
As a woman in particular, I’ve experienced that being strong often means something else. Because women are expected to be vulnerable and soft so when a woman speaks up, she must be angry or bitter. And that’s not appealing or attractive. When a woman takes the lead, she’s quickly labelled as an alpha female. Why would we even need to label men and women like that, when we can just call them a great leader, or someone with strong leadership skills?
I try not to avoid conflicts because I’ve learned it’s better to handle any issue as it comes up, instead of bottling things up until they’re blown out of proportion. This doesn’t make me bossy, bitchy or dominant. It makes me a problem solver. And when it comes to having a sense of humor, us “alphas” are often perceived as too cynical or just plain mean.
Being strong does not mean I’m not able to be vulnerable. On the contrary, in order to do that, I have to be brutally honest with myself and have the guts to share this with someone. That takes courage.
A lot of people seem to think that strong individuals can take on anything. Of course I need help from time to time, but there are few people I will or can ask, because only a hand full of them really believe me when I say I need support.
It is true I can take on a lot, I can handle pain, defeat and on top of that even take on the bearings of my loved ones. The baddest of situations I will overcome, not always because I’m strong but oftentimes because I don’t see any other option than to survive, and fight.
However, I’m no super human.
It can go so far as becoming embarrassed to show my insecurities and weaknesses because my strength has become the norm and not everyone can actually accept that it can get hard at times. As a consequence, I tell myself I have to push through on my own.
I don’t always allow myself to get upset or angry or hurt over anything and when I do, people find it hard to believe. So whatever it is that made me feel angry/hurt/upset, it must be my own fault, because I’m a strong person, I can take on anything and no way in hell can that sweet-looking, quiet girl could cause anyone any harm.
It must have been that tall, self-assured, out spoken chick. No doubt. She’s the strongest one.
Sometimes I fear my strength will hurt someone, so I tone it down, I deny myself to be me. I put the other people first. I believe in compromise and every once in a while that’s just what I want to do in order to keep the peace in a situation.
But when it gets to a point where I stop being myself, because I want to accept others just the way they are and grant them the freedom to be themselves, I have to wonder, how is that fair? It’s hypocritical and painful. That kind of pain I’ve inflicted on myself.
In those moments you hurt yourself. And I believe I should love myself. I’m easy to love, because I know who I am, I know what I want and I’m willing to unapologetically share this knowledge. I want to keep working at accepting who I am, but more importantly, accepting where I am in life.
So being strong is my problem, but it is also my solution.
Author Bio – Founder at the Unicorn Mothership and shesaid.so Belgium, freelancing in the music and tech industry and spicing up all my endeavors with the right amount of mindfulness.
@ClassyLassy_e on Twitter