One of my good friends and I have been talking about how childhood trauma prepares us for oncoming trauma, which we’re never ready for. Part of growing up in an earthquake is learning how to stay steady on your own.
Here’s what I know:
How to Be Strong
- Recognize your strength. You can’t feel strong without accepting that you have strength. It takes strength to exist. If you’re existing, you are strong. Even if your depression coping skills could use some work, you’re still coping the best you can. Literally, I never started feeling strong until I accepted the fact that I could be much stronger than I feel. Ask someone who supports you how they think you are strong. They’ll give you a bunch of reasons if you can’t find them yourself!
- Let Yourself Feel. I thought I was coping okay with all of the bad news in the world but today I surprised myself by breaking down crying. Crying never feels practical. It’s like this giant human inconvenience that saves us. I felt SO MUCH BETTER after crying. If you feel like being strong is hiding your emotions, think about this: what would happen to the violence in the world if everyone could sit down and cry? Literally all the violence would stop.
- Don’t Hurt Yourself or Anyone Else. Even if you can’t see your strength or safely let yourself feel, hurting yourself only makes you weaker. You can’t be strong if you’re attacking yourself. The world hurts us badly enough without us resorting to hurting ourselves or hurting other people.
- Do Your Thing And Trust It. Recognize that you can’t be perfect. I’m honestly feeling like a jerk right now because I literally know over 150 people in France and I haven’t talked with them in a long time. I am worried sick. Realistically today, though, what can I do? I can write. I can let them know I’m thinking of them. I can keep myself safe to promote a safe world. I can stop beating myself up for the things I can’t do and start doing things that I can do.
Tomorrow is never promised, but the best way to predict our tomorrow is to take care of ourselves and each other for today.