Losing the Strength to be Strong

“I’m losing the strength to be strong,” I murmured as tears streamed down my face during a Shamanic Women’s circle back in 2018. I held the healing stone in my hand, signaling to the group that it was my turn to share and their turn to hold space for me.

I wasn’t comfortable expressing or feeling my emotions. I perfected the art of numbing myself with wine and work over the years.  Rarely facing my feelings. Reorganizing them, repacking them to make room deep down inside of me. Hiding behind smiles, hard work, and achievements. Releasing them only when I drank enough and would be fuzzy at best on the details the next day.

“I’m so tired. At home. At work. I’m the one that everyone leans on. Depends on. Someone needs something done, Lyndsay will take care of it. A problem to solve? Lyndsay will figure it out. But I don’t think I can do it much longer. I don’t think I can be the strong one anymore, and I don’t know how to tell people.”

I began sobbing as I passed the healing stone to the next person. In shock that I let those words slip out of my mouth and I bared my pain to these strangers.

But it was true. I had been going so hard for so long. I learned to survive by striving to be and do better. To achieve more. To be more. To always have my shit together. To not be a burden. To be all the things to all the people in my life.

Because of this learned survival technique, I rarely opened up, reached out, or let anyone in. When I was hurting or needed support, I would cave up, shut down, or numb out. I thought I couldn’t lean on others because they needed me to be the strong one.

If I wasn’t strong, they would see me as weak. If I were weak, they wouldn’t come to me when they needed support anymore. And if they didn’t need me anymore, they would leave.

They would leave…me.  

But the prolonged pressure to be strong combined with the crushing weight of losing of my two grandmothers and one of my fur babies within 3 months was more than I could bare. I couldn’t keep doing it anymore.  

I decided to take a break from my beloved wine for 30 days (now going on 3 years) to reconnect with my emotions and get back to my spiritual roots. I knew it was time to face and heal all the parts of me that I ignored for so long. The parts filled with pain, anger, shame, resentment, and sadness.

I began the process of un-becoming who I was to become who I was always meant to be.

It has been, and will continue to be, a lifelong a journey. But here is what I learned about being the strong one so far:

  1. You don’t have to be. I know we often think that the world will fall apart if we don’t hold it together. But it isn’t true. In fact, the world needs you to feel safe, happy, healthy, and whole. When you are, you are able to be there for others on a whole new level.  
  2. Feeling is healing. Allowing your emotions to be seen, named, felt, and heard allows you to heal. Healing enables you to forgive and move forward in peace, with gratitude, love, and wisdom for the experience. When you heal and share your story, you become a healer for others.
  3. Strength is in your emotions. By feeling and expressing your emotions, it reduces their intensity and provides you with more clarity once they’ve moved through you. You also give others around you the permission and strength to do the same. How empowering is that?!
  4. Your soul family will always support you. The people who genuinely love you will be there for you in the good times and the tough times. The people who get mad at you or reject you for expressing your emotions or asking for help aren’t your people. Let them go. Your people will find you.
  5. Honoring your emotions = honoring your true self.  Underneath all those stuffed and suppressed emotions lies this beautiful, brilliant soul just waiting to shine its light on the world. Your experiences, painful and wonderful, have helped shape who you are today. Honor your journey and let your light shine.

I share my experience and learning because I’ve had clients and peers say a similar things in the last two weeks. “I’m losing the strength to be strong.”

If this is you, know that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to do this journey called life alone. Reach out to those closest to you, a therapist, a coach, a spiritual teacher, a support group, a circle, or reach out to a stranger if that feels safer. You can even reach out to me.

I know this will feel so uncomfortable and, if you are like me, a little terrifying. But I promise you that it will be worth it.

If you’d like to learn more about my journey and the tools I’ve learned and used along the way, check out my latest best-selling book, The Beautiful-Unbecoming.

Stay curious, my friends.

Photo credit: Free photo 1723143 © Phothomas – Dreamstime.com

2 Comments on Losing the Strength to be Strong

    Tis the Season for Receiving – Part 1 of 2 – Lyndsay Toensing
    December 24, 2020

    […] system and the only way to be their support system is if I never needed their help. Check out Losing the Strength to Be Strong for more on that. It was only after I had solved my own problem, fixed the situation, made the […]

    What’s My Worth? – Lyndsay Toensing
    February 12, 2021

    […] hard time being vulnerable. I’ve shared part of my strength and vulnerability journey in my post “Losing the Strength to be Strong.”  But when I signed up for the Winter Shamanic Dieta with Mary Newstrom from Zenith High, I had […]