I have heard my entire life about how I’m a strong person. What can I say, growing up in a household with two wheelchairs can do that to a girl.
But what happens when you’re too strong?
Yes, there is such a thing as being too strong — or better yet, coming off as too strong. You’re confident in yourself, you don’t let the little things bother you, you don’t take anyone else’s crap, and you learn how to not need to rely on others, just to name a few examples. All of these may seem like great qualities to have, but sometimes, they can be taken out of context.
People perceive you as a bitch.
When you come from a difficult life, you learn what really matters, and what doesn’t. It gets to a point where you don’t have the time, energy, or patience to deal with the little things. You’re not trying to be mean, you just genuinely cannot focus on the friend who is causing drama or the person who isn’t treating you right. You know that there’s more to life, and that things like this just aren’t worth it. You know when it’s best to just say “screw it” and walk away.
Furthermore, you learn how to stand your ground. You learn who and what is truly important to you, and you won’t hesitate to voice your opinion on it. A colleague disrespects you? You won’t hesitate to say something. A friend lies to you? Again, you won’t hesitate to say something. Someone cuts you off on the highway? You definitely won’t hesitate to beep and say something. You’re strong and confident and you let your voice be known.
Plus, in the words of Tina Fey, “Bitches get stuff done.”
People don’t think you need help.
Yes, you’re a strong person who can handle a lot on your own….but everyone can benefit from some help. However, when you’re a really strong person, people can forget this. They forget that they should check in when you have a lot on your plate or have just been going through a lot. People don’t realize that despite everything looking like it’s handled on the outside, a simple “how is everything today?” can go far.
Unfortunately, sometimes they may not even take your asking for help seriously. And all of this, in turn, just leads you to stop asking others for help and instead doing everything on your own. You become guarded — scratch that, you stay guarded. You don’t open up to people, and you stop expecting people to be there for you.
People forget you can hurt too.
Being a strong person doesn’t mean that you’re immortal. You’re human too, and you will hurt at times. Yes, the times are not as common as they are for others, and yes these times are usually bigger instances, but man do they hurt. And they can hurt for a while. People sometimes can forget that even though you can handle a lot, it’s impossible for one person to be able to handle everything alone. And it’s impossible to not be affected by things.
In a weird, warped way, it’s even more painful when a strong person hurts because it doesn’t happen often. You’re stronger than this (duh). But sometimes, it’s just too much. And sometimes it’s just so wrong you can’t help but hurt.
Yes, all three of the above have happened to me. I’ve been called a bitch countless times after not dealing with drama and simply walking away. Or that time I didn’t hesitate to stand up for one of my friends when she was being wronged. And then there was that time someone tried to demean my work ethic. I stood up for myself — or separated myself — from all of those situations, in turn making me bitch.
And as for people not thinking I need help? Just recently I reached out to a good friend saying “I need help.” He legitimately didn’t take me seriously and not only didn’t help me, but proceeded to not reach back out to me. I know what you’re all thinking — he’s clearly not a true friend. But, he’s not the only one this has happened with, this is just the most recent example. People genuinely just don’t think you need help.
Finally, there’s the hurt. It takes a lot to hurt me, it really and truly does. In fact, I have some friends who have never even seen me cry or show any form of emotion. But, I can still hurt. Recently I found out one of my best friends lied to me for weeks, and that stung like hell. It still stings if we’re being honest. But I’m only human, and humans unfortunately hurt at times. As much as I’d like to be an exception to that rule, I’m not.
Millennials, it’s okay to be strong. And honestly, it’s okay to be too strong. Just don’t let any of the above get you down. Know yourself. Know what matters in life. Know when you should stand up for yourself and for others. Know who your true friends are. Keep asking for help, even when people don’t take you seriously. You can’t do everything by yourself — hell, I know I can’t.
And if you need help from someone who gets the whole strong thing, I’ve got you.