"My mother is very strong," said Michelle in a phone session with me.
"What do you mean by strong?"
"She never lets anything bother her. She never cries, and she strong-arms everyone into doing things her way. She's very judgmental and gets angry when she is crossed. She dominates everyone."
Michelle is confused between strength and domination.
Are you strong when you have a deep need to control and dominate?
Are you strong because you never cry?
Are you strong because you get angry and yell a lot?
Are you strong when you are being harsh and judgmental?
Or, are all these behaviors coming from fear and insecurity?
Do truly strong people need to dominate others? Do they need to hide their feelings? Do they need to be judgmental? Do they need constant validation?
What is Strength?
You are strong when you come from an inner sense of who you really are and have no need to prove your worth through domination. You can be vulnerable without losing your sense of self. You don't need to yell or judge to be seen and heard - you see and hear yourself so you don't need the constant validation.
You are strong when do not need to avoid your painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, grief, or helplessness over others, because you know you have the inner strength to manage these feelings with love and compassion for yourself, and the strength to reach out to others for support and comfort.
You are strong when you have moved beyond the false beliefs that cause shame, deeply valuing your essence and operating from the truth of your Divine Self.
You are strong when you can be vulnerable and let the primary people in your life experience your pain and joy.
You are strong when you are willing to take the risk of loving with your whole heart and soul.
What is Weakness?
Weakness is when you are so afraid of your own core feelings that you build a hard exterior around yourself to protect from feeling the pain of the challenges of life.
Weakness is when you are so afraid of the pain of rejection that you allow others to walk all over you and take advantage of you in your attempts to avoid it.
Weakness is when you are so afraid to be walked all over or taken advantage of that you go into automatic resistance to what you think others want of you.
Weakness is when you are so afraid of being controlled by your spiritual Guidance that you refuse to open to learning with your Guidance and refuse to listen.
You are weak when you turn to addictions rather than learn how to loving manage your painful feelings.
You are weak when being protected and controlling is more important than being loving and connected with yourself and others.
We are all Weak, and we are all Strong
The wounded self in all of us is weak, as this survival part of us comes from fear and shame - believing that we are not good enough. When our intent is to protect, then we come from this weak part of us.
The moment we move into an intent to learn about loving ourselves and others, we become strong. We have access to the enormous strength and wisdom of our spiritual Guidance. We become strong enough to love, strong enough to risk the heartbreak of losing a loved one.
Michelle's mother is anything but strong. Because she is so out of touch with her essence and her Guidance, she comes from deep shame, which creates her terror of rejection and engulfment. As a result, she has to constantly protect herself with her controlling behavior.
"Yes, I sense the fragility within her," said Michelle. "All of us are so careful not to hurt her, as she really can't take it and gets so enraged. It makes it easier for me to have compassion for her when I understand that she is coming from weakness rather than strength, from fear rather than love."