I recently witnessed someone dear to me going through a particularly challenging ordeal. This person is extraordinary, emanating grace, strength, good cheer, and wisdom. Her support of others in their time of need numbers in the hundreds. It’s interesting that only one stepped up to check in with her during her great turmoil. I think it is because she is seen as strong.
I am sure as I have traveled my personal journey that I have witnessed this kind of behavior over and over again. There is something about folks looking at someone, seeing that person as strong, courageous, and determined that sends a message that is false. It seems people believe the strong one is beyond need, or perhaps that person is seen in a smoking mirror, someone who is held to a higher level and therefore certainly has no need of my support. How could I be of any comfort or use to the strong one?
Here is my truth. We are all a part of a tribe that depends one on another for so many things. I cannot or choose not to grow all of my own food. My wife knits us a sweater or two on occasion, but we purchase most of our clothing from others who make pants and shirts as a matter of course. When I need to learn something specialized, I tap the shoulder of the one who has that knowledge that I seek. And when I am lonely, I reach out, if I am in such a space to do so, to another from my tribe for solace and companionship.
It is also up to me to occasionally pause long enough to look around and see who in my tribe may be in need. The best concept of a warrior or warrioress is one who looks out for those in need and acts to address that need. Typically, this is seen as the old and the infirm, the orphaned and the disadvantaged, those who cannot speak for themselves. But truly, it can apply to anyone. My times of need come and go, and I suspect that there are those who hesitate to reach out to me because they think I can do it all. The reality is, we are all human, we are all vulnerable. Some hide it better than others.
Sometimes being strong means that the one with muscle has a resistance to asking for support. And it may be that sometimes those of us who surround strong ones when they are “on their game” cannot imagine them as anything else. And so, it is easy to miss the need. It in no way diminishes the fact that the strong, too, deserve and have need of supportive connection. Which strong person might you reach out to today?