Around four years ago I wrote a post titled Don’t Tell Me I’m Strong. Just last week someone left a remark. It’s amazing the power of words, and the amplification by the Internet. Add the Jesus factor and the possibilities are endless.
This is how that post started: “Don’t tell me I’m strong”, I heard myself say as I sat and talked with a group of people. “I’m not sure why, but it really pisses me off”. This became a new topic of discussion as we delved a little deeper, because others were identifying and agreeing that they weren’t that thrilled with hearing those words either.
You can read the entire post by clicking here.
Here is the comment that was left last week: Thank you. My child was stillborn nine weeks ago and I’m so f’ing tired of people telling me that “I’m strong.” “You’re so strong” it makes me want to punch them in the face. I mean, it’s definitely better than them not saying anything, I appreciate that they’re trying to be encouraging… but it makes me really angry. I actually had to look and see if anyone else felt the same.
I was struck with the fact that this woman had those same feelings but had never heard anyone else express them, so she did what anyone living in the twenty-first century would do…she Googled it. And she found my post. There is such a comfort in knowing that someone “gets us”, understands exactly how we feel, even if this person is halfway across the country or even the world.
The power of “Yeah, me too” is so impactful. It brings connection. What greater purpose is there in telling your story?
I was also struck with another thing…no man is an island. There is nothing new under the sun. We all think we’re so different (not in a good way), that no one else has ever felt the way we’ve felt, or experienced the things we have. To some extent this is true. Every story is different. Every life is unique. Human nature, however, is pretty universal.
The feelings of connection and belonging are huge. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. You never know who’s life it might touch in a way that no one else, or any other story could.
We have commonalities. If you have had a thought or feeling that seems different, chances are someone else has thought and felt the same as you.
People want, maybe even need to hear; “Yeah, me too”.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with a person who has earned the right to hear your story. Vulnerability can dispel loneliness and bring a feeling of belonging and worth.
Let them be where they are. Don’t try to change or fix.
Instead, listen with the heart of the Father.