I am strong.
My strength has gotten me through life, and allowed me to continue beating impossible odds.
My strength allowed me to get through my childhood, broken but still alive.
My strength got me to get out of bed every morning, even when I knew the day would inevitably bring me pain.
My strength carried me through to the day I finally escaped — the day that I needed all of the strength in the world to bring me to freedom.
Strength helped me walk away, run away, far away.
And my strength helps me still today, as I continue to choose to live rather than to die.
I’m not sure where my strength came from. Is it something inside me? Is it in my heart or in my head? Or does it flow through my body like a life force within me? I don’t know where it came from, or even where it is right now. But I know it’s there, helping me fight, helping me stand up when it is so much easier to just lay down and concede.
I share this strength with others every day. I share my story with the world; the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. Because my strength isn’t always so easy to see. But they can see it, sometimes more than I can see it myself. When I feel weak, I am reminded of the strength it took for me to get away. Incredible strength, that not everyone has, but I have it. I always had it. And now my strength gives others hope that they can be strong, too — that they can survive even when it seems impossible.
I used to hate the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” because I believed my experiences showed weakness, not strength. I was standing, breathing, bleeding, but I was dead inside. That wasn’t strength. Strong people don’t feel the way I felt for so long. Strong people don’t feel at all.
But I was strong. My experiences may have knocked me down, but they did not kill me. They made me come back to life stronger than ever, with a will to live and the ability to share that will with the world, to change lives for the better.
My strength gives me hope, even when everything seems hopeless.
Strength is not about winning the battle. It’s about fighting, even when the odds are against you.
I wrote this in group today. I’m not even sure where it came from. I stared at the paper for a while before I even started to write, completely at a loss for words.
What specific attribute, quality, or skill distinguishes you from everyone else? How did you come to develop it? What positive things has it brought to your life? How are you able to share it with others?
What distinguishes me? Nothing. My thoughts automatically went to thinking that I was less than human. Unworthy. How could an unworthy person have anything special about them?
After 10 minutes or so, I started to think of things other people told me about me. I recalled many people speaking of my strength. Oddly, in those moments, I never saw myself as strong. I’d nod my head in agreement, yet inside my head, I was discrediting everything they were saying. I struggle with accepting positive things because I became so accustomed to hearing the negative that positive seems like a foreign concept to me.
I wrote down I am strong. Then it was like something clicked in me. I kept on writing without even thinking of what was coming out on paper. And I ended up with this.
Even after it was done, part of me wanted to rip it up. It doesn’t make any sense. No one will understand this. It’s horrible. I hesitated sharing it with the group because I believed the same thoughts I was having in my head were thoughts that they were going to have as well. Part of me was ashamed.
But I tried to stop the judgments. I took a breath and read it out loud. Even as my voice trembled and my legs and hands shook from anxiety, I read it through until the end. There was something different about reading the words out loud. I wanted to cry, but I held it in. This was my truth, spoken out loud. I made myself vulnerable. I didn’t have to. I didn’t have to share.
But I did, and that alone is an example of strength.