Is it okay to stay in bed a little bit longer because your sleep matters and perhaps today there is no need to be a hero or heroine?
To not answer a phone call from a friend because you are immersed in your own thoughts and can’t deal with theirs until you make peace with your own?
To give yourself permission to cry, to do nothing, to not always smile or pretend, to tell the truth because you are tired of being someone you’re not?
Yes, it is. I am writing these words, but there is no need to trust me because it’s your own mental health that’s saying yes.
If being the strong one has led you to this article, chances are it’s not the optimal strategy. Let’s have a look at how we can change, so our strength can lead to actual happiness.
Why you may be tired of being strong
It’s true: sometimes being strong is your only option. And if that’s the case, then the best strategy is to learn to cope.
However, the phrase “tired of being strong” itself usually implies that being strong is somehow a choice.
It’s as if our determination and stoicism were some kind of task that we’re doing out of pride and responsibility even though in reality we’d be better off without them.
When this happens, you feel inner tension, unhappiness, or even depression — that’s the red flag that tells you you must change.
Because if there is a better solution, then you may be tired of being the strong one simply because…
1. You are not being yourself
Have you fallen into the trap of being the person others expect you to be? When I say others, this could mean your friends and family but also society as a whole.
If you look inside, you may find that who you really are doesn’t actually match the idea of being strong all the time, and that the idea may be toxic, and as such not meant for you.
2. You hide your emotions
This is again a trait that we tend to embody purely because of societal expectations. Men seem to be particularly affected, and some cultures are worse than others in this sense, but it can affect anyone.
Being able to hide and perhaps even suppress some of our emotions, at times and when needed, can be a good thing. But make it the norm and it will lead to all sorts of mental health issues.
3. You are too hard on yourself
How high are your standards? Do you allow yourself to make mistakes? Can you give yourself permission to feel perfect and whole without someone else’s appreciation or approval?
If you are too hard on yourself, then you have chosen to be strong, but not in a healthy way. You are playing a game that doesn’t benefit you nor anyone around you because it demands too much energy.
4. You never ask for help
Besides bottling up emotions at all costs, those who feel they have to be strong tend to never ask for help because they feel it would lead to vulnerability and dependence.
The trick here is to realize that although strength and independence are positive qualities, no one will ever be completely strong and independent. And as cliche it may sound, it really is okay to ask for help.
5. You have the wrong outlook
If you feel life is a constant battle, and must be a constant battle, let me reassure you — this isn’t the case, regardless of who you are, your personality, or your circumstances.
Yes, life can be hard. However, the thought that you’re supposed to fight all the time can only make it harder. Did you know that, often, there is no need to fight? Did you know that fighting isn’t always your responsibility?
6. You are afraid of being selfish
Typically, those who are always strong (and eventually feel tired of being strong all the time) are very good at giving and have a hard time taking, which is unhealthy.
The phrase be a giver, not a taker is good advice but it implies that you love yourself and take care of yourself. Giving without taking what is rightfully yours leads to imbalance (loss of energy on your part).
If you are tired of being strong…
- Let go of what is unnecessary. Learn to say no to others. And to your “strong” mind. Meaning: if so far you have been consumed with the idea that you must be the strong one, and this hasn’t been helpful nor healthy, then say no and let go of that.
- Prioritize your wellbeing. Take breaks when necessary. Make me time an absolute priority because it is. Love yourself unconditionally — it’s a lot harder than you think. And never forget that you first have to have your own light to brighten others’ lives.
- Embrace your vulnerable side. In life, you need vulnerability as much as strength. Just like you need relationships as much as independence, or determination as much as flexibility. The key is always a health balance.
- Know it will be okay regardless. Being the strong one is very difficult, so why would anyone do that? I feel the most alluring reward is control — the feeling that you are in control of everything. But if you know things will work out anyway, there is no need to be so strong anymore.