Our strength will continue
if we allow ourselves
the courage to feel
scared, weak,and vulnerable
Strength is usually seen as the opposite of "weakness." This culture teaches us, both male and female, to "man up" and push away any feelings that are perceived as weak such as uncertainty, fear and vulnerability. Many therapy clients have a difficult time talking about and facing these feelings because they judge them as weak and therefore unacceptable.
Yet, paradoxically, true strength lies in having the courage to allow yourself to feel scared, weak, uncertain and vulnerable. It takes a significant amount of courage and determination to stop pushing those feelings away. It also takes courage and motivation to push past the shame that often comes up for having these "weak" feelings in the first place.
And sometimes it simply is desperation to feel better, to change things in life, that will push you to feel all those unacceptable, painful feelings. Allowing yourself to feel any and all feelings as they arise, including fear and vulnerability, is true strength!
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley